Incident 51/2008

At 21:54 this evening Lancashire Constabulary paged the team concerning the recent reported sighting of an ’orange’ flare in the vicinity of Rivington Moor by a credible witness.

Initially the Police requested information as to what the flare represented, and it was determined that it was probably a ’red’ flare, which is generally accepted as a distress signal.

Given the duration of the sighting and having determined it was not a misinterpretation of the TV mast lights, the team in consultation with Lancashire Constabulary was placed on standby at our Ladybridge Hall base/HQ to repond accordingly if the search by the Lancashire Constabulary Air Support Unit helicopter determined that someone was indeed in distress.

It was decided to back up the airborne search by a limited number of team members in four wheel drive vehicles checking the high points and access tracks around Rivington Moor and Winter Hill itself for anything untoward.
This involved our Deputy Leader accessing the summit of Rivington Pike in his vehicle, and other team members driving to the summit area of Winter Hill, checking the moorland track of Georges Lane/Belmont Road, and a team vehicle carrying out a roadside check in the Belmont and Rivington areas.

Meanwhile the Lancashire Constabulary Air Support Unit helicopter conducted a very comprehensive search of the Rivington Moor, Noon Hill and Winter Hill areas, utilising its ’Nitesun’ powerfull searchlight and other aircraft sensors on board for over 35 minutes duration.

The Duty Police Inspector then attended Rivington to liaise directly with the team, with both our Team Leader and Deputy Leader having maintained contact with Lancashire Constabulary Southern Comms, throughout the search.
With our vehicle check and the Air Support Unit search having drawn a blank the search was called off at circa 23:50.

In total we had 11 team members in five vehicles deployed directly in this precautionary search, with a further 15 team members held on standby at our Ladybridge Hall base/HQ (only a few minutes from the search area).

Lancashire Constabulary deployed various Police Officers to the search and their Air Support Unit helicopter. This incident concluded with all MRT resources deployed returning to our two vehicle bases (Ladybridge Hall and Bolton Fire Station) by 00:25 on Monday 14th April.