Incident 63/2008

At 16:35 today our Team Leader was contacted by Greater Manchester Police regarding the urgent assistance of the team in a developing search for a missing 43 year old man.

The man’s van had been located by family members mid-afternoon at Hordern Stoops car park, at the highest point of the moorland road between Rivington and Belmont.

The missing man’s situation was giving cause for concern to the family who contacted Greater Manchester Police, leading them to instigate an urgent search operation.

A full team callout page was made at 16:48 with our Deputy Leader Geoff Seddon, who lives close to the area, making an immediate search of nearby moorland tracks in his four wheel drive vehicle.

Our Team Leader responded to this search joint with a GMP Search Coordinator Officer (who coincidentally was near the workplace of our Team Leader Garry Rhodes in Rochdale Town Centre, leading to them both responding together in their respective vehicles from Rochdale).

Upon arrival at the Hordern Stoops RVP, our Team Leader and GMP search coordinator met up with a large number of other GMP responding officers and also police officers from Lancashire Constabulary.

With many of the missing man’s family members also present at this location, a rapid search of the immediate area was undertaken, which included an extensive sweep of the surrounding areas by the GMP Air Support Unit helicopter.

As more Bolton MRT members turned up a wider search area came into being, which resulted in an urgent call from our team to our colleagues in Bowland Pennine MRT and Rossendale & Pendle MRT to jointly respond and assist with what was becoming a major search operation over potentially a very large area.

With the Bolton team and the Bowland Pennine team commencing a detailed search of hot spot areas, and local moorland footpaths the missing man was observed on the hilltop of Will Narr, close to the search RVP.

A mixed party of Bolton team members, family members and police quickly met up with the man and he was helped down to the search RVP where the arrival of an NWAS (Lancashire) Emergency Ambulance was awaited.

By this time, circa 20:00, the search operation was stood down and all search parties were recalled to the main RVP at Hordern Stoops and the subsidiary RVP for Bowland Pennine members at the Anglezarke Quarry area.

The total resources committed to this search included 27 Bolton MRT members, 20 Bowland Pennine MRT members, 11 Rossendale & Pendle MRT members, a large number of Police officers from Lancashire Constabulary and Greater Manchester Police, including a Greater Manchester Police search co-ordinator, a GMP missing person search manager, three GMP general purpose dog teams and the GMP Air Support Unit helicopter (the NWAS ambulance was from Darwen ambulance station).

The happy outcome to this search brought great relief to the family members of the missing man involved and all searchers that responded to this incident wish the man well for the future.

This was potentially growing quickly into a major search operation and the close liaison between the three MRT’s and the two Police forces involved warrants special mention.