Incident 138/2007

Whilst the Bolton MRT were hosting their annual Joint Foundation Course in Mountain Rescue weekend (see separate story) and large elements of the team were deployed around a series of mini exercise locations in the Lower House area of Rivington, the team was paged by NWAS (GMA) at 12.01hrs, the call being answered by our Team Leader.

The initial information was that a walker was experiencing chest pains whilst up on the moors, with the location thought by the Ambulance Service to be in the Charters Moss plantation area of Turton.

Given that there was no specific location known to the Ambulance Service, our Team Leader decided to mobilise all on the Foundation Course to the Blackburn Road A666 RVP with the thought that a search may be required.

Meeting responding NWAS (GMA) resources at this location, (an RRV and an Emergency Ambulance), news was then received that an alternative RVP was now being set up on the other side of Turton Moor, at the Crookfield Road car park situated just off the A675, by the Tockholes ’turn off’.

Bolton MRTs Deputy Leader was despatched to this new RVP immediately, with all the MRT / LSAR / NWAS resources relocating from Charters Moss to Crookfield Road at the direction of the Ambulance Service.

The Ambulance Service could not regain what had been their initial mobilephone contact with the hillwalker, and our Team Leader was faced with instigating a search of not only Turton Moor but also possibly Turton Heights, given what limited information was available regards the hillwalkers possible location.
Through NWAS PEC air support was requested to search the moorlands to try and locate the hillwalker, when news was received via Lancashire Constabulary that a group of hillwalkers had chanced upon what turned out to be the hillwalker concerned, but that unfortunately he had succumbed to a fatal collapse.
The 41 year old male hillwalker was on trackless moorland near to the moorland ruin on Turton Moor known as Rabbit Warren, and all the MRT / LSAR / NWAS (GMA) resources relocated to this area to meet responding Lancashire Constabulary resources.

Following certain investigative protocols carried out by the Police, a large stretcher party made up of Foundation Course members, trainees and instructors alike, then evacuated the mans body to the roadside 1.5kms away, working in stretcher carrying teams of eight persons, and reaching the roadhead by 15.11hrs.

The man had been solo hillwalking in the company of his dog, which was brought down off the moors by the team and then handed to the Police.
It is thought the man sadly succumbed to a fatal collapse very shortly after making his initial emergency call.

The condolences of all the Mountain Rescue and Lowland Search and Rescue volunteers who dealt with this incident are expressed to the family of the man concerned.

For some on this incident it was not only their first call out, it was also sadly their first attendance at a moorland rescue involving a fatality.
The following resources and personnel were involved in this incident, Bolton MRT 23x, North East Wales Search and Rescue Team 11x, Staffordshire Lowland Search and Rescue Team 4x, Rossendale and Pendle Mountain Rescue Team 1x, Calder Valley Search and Rescue Team 1x, Cheshire Lowland Search and Rescue Team 8x, NWAS (GMA) Rapid Response Vehicle and an Emergency Ambulance, NWAS (GMA) Paramedic Emergency Control, NWAS (Lancashire) Emergency Ambulance, Lancashire Constabulary local Divisional Officers.

During the latter stages of this incident but prior to the deployment of the stretcher evacuation party onto the moor, all the NEWSAR members (trainees and instructors) had to depart this incident for one of their own in their home patch, when they were faced with an urgent search operation in North Wales.