Incident 98/2005

Well – the lack of incidents in December was broken tonight when, at the conclusion of our Wednesday evening exercise, we were contacted by GMP regards our urgent assistance with the search for a missing elderly lady. It was established that the person was actually missing in the team area of our colleagues at Rossendale & Pendle MRT and so we passed the call to them, and retired to the Belmont Bull for a post-exercise drink.

Our well earned rest after the exercise didn’t last long, with the Team Leader of RPMRT requesting we turn out to assist his team immediately.
33 Bolton MRT members responded at 23.42hrs when our pagers went off, all meeting at the moorland fringe RVP of Nangreaves, to the North East of Bury.
A local woman, aged 79 hadn’t returned from an afternoon walk with her dog (she was reported to regularly walk her dog up to three times daily) and concern for her welfare was now increasing.

By this time, it was very early in the morning of Thursday 15th December and a search, co-ordinated by the TL of RPMRT (with our TL assisting) and two GMP Missing Person Search Managers, brought together the resources of the RPMRT members present (9), GMP resources and local people commenced with some urgency.
With temperatures around 6c and a howling wind, the priority was a search of the very extensive local track network.

Alongside the human searchers, RPMRT’s Search Dog Team of handler Helen Morton and her Search Dog Linnhe worked alongside our handler Dave Marsh and his Search Dog Chi and Trainee Tracker Dog Sniff; both handlers being joined by a GMP General Purpose Dog Unit.

At 02.49 hours, a Bolton MRT four person search party first noticed the missing woman’s dog and then the missing woman herself, in a collapsed and hypothermic condition, within a farm open-ended tractor barn, near to her home address.

BMRT Member Steve Fletcher providing warmth and comfort to the casualty, beneath a casualty shelter

The woman was quickly surrounded by Team members’ clothing and well insulated with a foil blanket; with our Little Dragon warm air kit brought into use. Additional MRT and Police resources then quickly turned up, followed by a GMAS Emergency Ambulance, which transferred the woman to Bury (Fairfield) Hospital. Her dog meanwhile, which had led searchers to her discovery, was well looked after by a neighbour of the woman who was assisting in the search.

BMRT members treat the casualty, awaiting the arrival of the GMAS ambulance

All involved then enjoyed (at 03.30 in the morning) bacon butties and hot drinks, courtesy of our newly refurbished Catering Unit Trailer; before heading back home for some sleep (not before all our vehicles, trailers and Search & Rescue kit was cleaned and packed away!)

The very successful conclusion of this incident could not have happened without the close and integrated team work which took place between our team, our colleagues at RPMRT, GMP and GMAS – not forgetting the help of local people. We understand the woman was kept in hospital for further observations, but is otherwise making a full recovery.