Incident 84/2007

Just before 2pm this afternoon, on what was a gloriously sunny and very warm day, NWAS Greater Manchester Control received a 999 call regarding an accident to an off-road motorcyclist on Cutacre Tip (a coal tip, also known as Lomax Tip and Wharton Lane Tip) on the boundary of Wigan, Bolton and Salford.

An NWAS ambulance crew from Atherton ambulance station approached as near as they could get to the tip, parking at Padiham Farm, Engine Lane, Tyldesley, and were then faced with a half-mile trek and the very steep-sided coal tip, to the incident site, where realising the difficult access nature of the location a request was made for the assistance of the North West Air Ambulance Helimed 08 and our team.

We were paged at 14:13 with a full pager callout following at 14:17.

BY 14:23, Helimed 08 had landed on top of the very large coal tip and then met up with the responding NWAS emergency ambulance crew at the casualty site, which was at the bottom of a steep sided slope approximately 50m long, where the off-road motorcyclist, a male in his late 20’s, had fallen down sustaining a serious knee injury.

The carry-off from the tip in the distance.

The first member of the rescue team arrived at the Engine Lane RVP at 14:40, with our first vehicle and Team Leader jointly arriving at 14:55, closely followed by a second MRT Landrover at 15:00.

Because of the distance and immediate difficulty of getting to the casualty site, 3 team members (our TL, DTL, and Craig Lamb – back on home territory, being an ex-miner and ex-mines rescuer) were airlifted by Helimed 08 from the Engine Lane RVP to the casualty site, en-route being able to assess the casualty location and rescue & evacuation routes (Helimed 08 had flown back two of the ambulance crew to make ready their ambulance to receive the casualty, as his condition precluded him from being evacuated by air).

Still along way to go off the tip.

By 15:18, the members who had been airlifted up were at the actual cas site, and made specific rescue kit requests and setup a hand line to enable the air ambulance paramedic and ambulance paramedic to get back up the very steep slope above the casualty, to regroup with Helimed 08.

By 15:30 the MRT stretcher party had arrived at the casualty site, with an evacuation commencing at 15:35 with a rope stretcher/lower system in place o get down the steep sides of the coal tip of easier ground.

A very hot & sweaty stretcher carry in the very warm temperature of the afternoon then took place through dense scrub, woodland, and across open fields, to meet up with the ambulance at 16:00.

After handing over the casualty the ambulance departed for Royal Bolton Hospital.

Casualty arrives at the Ambulance & the Team Leader, Garry, does his bonding with the female crew !

This incident was an excellent example of the cooperative working between NWAS Emergency ambulance crew (3x), NWAS Belle Vue Ambulance Control, our valued colleagues on NWAA Helimed 08. and the 17 Bolton MRT members present.

We would like to thank the owners of Padiham Farm for putting up with all our team vehicles and members cars, cluttering up the peace and tranquility of their farm access track (this is a common RVP for accidents in the area, and one we also use for exercises).