Yesterday afternoon saw ourselves and North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team involved in a dramatic and challenging multi-agency incident for a crashed glider. The pilot and glider had crashed high on the south east side of The Cheviot. After receiving the initial activation from Northumbria Police, the Teams were immediately called out and a hasty team of two members were deployed onto the hill within 40 minutes to try locate the crashed glider as soon as possible. Progress was hampered by snow storms and the low cloud base, which meant the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) was unable to land near to the crash site.
Further Team members with a rescue equipment, the medical team from GNAAS and Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service personnel with lightweight cutting equipment were then airlifted by the HM Coastguard search and rescue helicopter from Prestwick to Scald Hill. From there they had to make progress on foot to the crash site. By this time the Mountain Rescue hasty team had located the crashed glider. After which further hill parties were deployed with technical rope rescue kit to assist with lowering the stretcher to below the cloud base.
A 400m stretcher lower in darkness down the side of The Cheviot then followed to a location below the cloud base. Thankfully the Coastguard helicopter was able to land on and the glider pilot was transferred into the helicopter for a short flight to hospital.
The Teams would like to pay particular thanks to the two walkers who went to the aid of the pilot and remained with him until Mountain Rescue personnel arrived on scene. They did an exceptional job of keeping the pilot calm and provided him with additional clothing. We would also like to thank the game keeper who transported two Team members up onto the hill on his quad bike.
We hope the glider pilot makes a full and swift recovery from his ordeal.
Persons reported struggling in the River Wansbeck. A group of young males and females had been drinking all day in Morpeth and after leaving one of the pubs, thought it would be a good idea to take two of the rowing boats, which had been locked up for the night, out onto the river. An eye witness reported seeing the group capsize both of the boats.
That was the scenario which faced a multi-agency response last night. Northumberland Fire & Rescue Service, the Coastguard and Mountain Rescue were involved in agreeing and implementing an effective search plan to locate the missing persons. Swiftwater and bankside teams, all in appropriate PPE, a Mountain Rescue search dog team were swiftly deployed by the three agencies, and all the casualties were located, treated and evacuated within an hour and a half.
A great evening working alongside our colleagues in the Fire Service and Coastguard. Much learning for all involved, which will hold us in good stead for the real thing!
One day we’re in The Cheviots guiding lost walkers off the hill, next day we are on the banks of the River Tyne working with Northumberland Fire & Rescue Service on a joint exercise.
The joint exercise involved in water and bankside searching for five contractors who had gone missing when the scaffolding on the railway bridge they were working on collapsed.
Both services co-located at Warden and established a shared incident command. Mountain Rescue water first responder teams and Fire & Rescue Swiftwater Rescue Technician teams were swiftly (pardon the pun!) deployed.
The five contractors were all located in under an hour and a half, and evacuated by stretcher, boat and 4×4 vehicle to awaiting ambulances.
Northumbria Police and the North East Ambulance Service requested the assistance of the Team and North of Tyne MRT on Monday morning. The Team’s assistance was required to evacuate a critically injured male in a ‘difficult to access’ location on the outskirts of Alnwick.
The MRTs were stood down en-route when an alternative evacuation route to the Great North Air Ambulance was found. The incident also involved Northumberland Fire & Rescue Service.
The incident involved 6 Team members for 25 minutes.
A busy period continues with our sixth call-out in two weeks. The Team along with North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team were called by Northumbria Police to attend an incident at Harbottle. A 10 year old boy had climbed on top of the Drakestone and was unable to reverse climb.
Assisted by the Northumberland Fire & Rescue Service crew from Rothbury and a specialist rope access team from Alnwick, the boy was eventually lowered to the ground.
The incident lasted 2.5 hours and involved 10 rescue Team members.
Late last night the Team was called to assist in a multi-agency response for a fisherman in his 80s who had failed to return home. Working alongside Northumbria Police, Northumberland Fire & Rescue Service, the North East Ambulance Service and our sister mountain rescue team, North of Tyne, a water and bankside search was conducted on the River Till.
Sadly the fisherman’s body was located a few 100 metres downstream of where his fishing rod was found by a Swiftwater Rescue Team.
Our thoughts go out to the gentleman’s wife, family and friends at this difficult and emotional time.
The Team was stood down mid-morning yesterday from providing additional support to the flood event in Cumbria. The impact (thankfully) wasn’t as great as expected. Our water team remained on standby for flood related incidents in Northumberland throughout the remainder of the day, ready to assist Northumberland Fire & Rescue Service if required.
During this time the Team responded to two other incidents – details to follow – and we were also requested to provide assets to assist other MRTs and emergency services in York where flood defences had failed. Due to an ongoing incident in our operational area we are unable to respond at this time.
Yesterday afternoon our Water First Responders and Water Incident Managers were deployed by Northumberland Fire & Rescue Service. Our assistance was needed to evacuate a family of four whose farm house had been cut off by flood waters when River Tyne bursts its banks.
Having assessed the situation, the Team requested a Swiftwater Team with powered boat from Northumberland FRS as it was too dangerous to wade out to the house. A great joint effort then led to the safe evacuation of the family as river levels continued to rise.
The situation in the Tyne valley continued to deteriorate as the afternoon progressed and we only hope that river levels have reached their peak at least for a while.
The Team’s water first responders and water & flood incident managers are currently on standby for potential flooding events across Northumberland. The Team is ready to provide assistance and additional resources to Northumberland Fire & Rescue Service. We will be continuing to monitor weather conditions and river levels over the next 24 hours.
The Team has alerted other Mountain Rescue Teams in the North East to ascertain what other resources will be available.
At just before 11.00hrs today, Northumbria Police requested mountain rescues assistance in the search for Lloyd Neale in the Morpeth area. Ourselves and North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team were involved, alongside the swiftwater team from Northumberland Fire & Rescue Service.
Whilst the terrain wasn’t hilly the undergrowth made for some challenging searching. The search has been stood down for this evening whilst the Police undertake further investigations.