Incident 81/2008

At circa 12.12hrs today our Team Leader Garry Rhodes received a direct telephone call from NWAS (Lancashire) Control for immediate assistance with a 999 call regarding a woman with a suspected fractured shoulder “fallen near a waterfall above the Top Barn area of Rivington.”

A duplicate call was also received from NWAS (Manchester) Control.
Local knowledge placed the incident site somewhere within the Terraced Gardens on the slopes of Rivington Moor above the Top Barn, the local name for the Rivington Hall Barn.

As a small number of team members were already at our Ladybridge Hall Base / HQ, heavy rainfall having caused the cancellation of our scheduled rope rescue training, an immediate response was possible with three team Landrover Mountain Rescue Ambulances, alongside a full team member pager call out at 12.18hrs.

Team members initially RV’d at Rivington Hall Barn car park, our first vehicle and its crew meeting up with an informant from the injured persons party at 12.27hrs. As other team members and the responding NWAS (Lancashire) Emergency Ambulance arrived, two team members with the informant went straight away to try and determine the actual casualty location, an earlier attempt to call back the 999 callers mobile phone by our Team Leader met with no success.

Information was leading us to think that the casualty site was near the ’Ravine’ section of the Terraced Gardens, which contains one large waterfall and numerous smaller ones. This led to a relocation of all resources to the Lower House area, where vehicular access into the Terraced Gardens by 4WD vehicles is possible, this was around circa 12.45hrs.

Our two initially despatched team members located the casualty site, involving a 78 years old woman from Lostock, Bolton, who had suffered a suspected very serious shoulder fracture.

This experienced hill and mountain walker in the company of her similarly experienced husband and two sons, had slipped on the wet and slippy terraced pathway near to the Lower Summer House, overlooking Breres Meadow, in the Terraced Gardens.

By 13.05hrs medical equipment, pain killing gas and an NWAS (Lancashire) Technician and Paramedic, escorted by team members were on scene to assist our first two responding members with casualty care. In very serious pain, the lady involved was given ’ Entonox ’ pain killing gas and then morphine.

Situated on a narrow pathway, with steep slopes dropping away below the site and above the site, she was placed onto a Bell Mountain Rescue Stretcher at 13.24hrs. Given her pain and the need for a very careful stretcher evacuation, it was decided to evacuate her down through the gardens to Rivington Hall Barn, where the NWAS Ambulance relocated from Lower House to.


Team members surround the casualty for handing over to the Ambulance crew.

By 13.43hrs she was in the Ambulance for onward transfer to Royal Bolton Hospital. Her husband and two sons were then transported in a team Land Rover Ambulance to their car situated at Great Hose Barn, Rivington.

In all 18 team members were involved in this incident alongside the NWAS (Lancashire) crew from Chorley Ambulance Station.