Incident 84/2008

At 12:02 today the team was paged by Greater Manchester Police in connection with a missing woman, aged 62 and suffering from Alzheimer’s.

The woman was last seen at her home address in the Whelley area of Wigan on Monday 18th August at 7pm.

Police were notified of her dissappearance late on the evening of the 18th August resulting in a search operation which gathered momentum throughout the early hours of the morning and into today.

The team was requested to search areas of open land commencing in the early evening and carrying on from the search efforts of Greater Manchester Police throughout the day, including their Air Support Unit helicopter, the Underwater Search Unit, Police Mounted Division (Horses), PCSO assets, Police General Purpose Dog Teams, along with Tactical Aid Unit and Divisional Police Officers.

25 team members assembled at the search rendezvous point located on Camberwell Crescent in the Whelley/New Springs area of Wigan at 18:30.

We were joined by 4 colleagues from Rossendale & Pendle MRT, and 16 colleagues from Cheshire Lowland Search & Rescue Team.

Our Team Leader, in association with a GMP Missing Person Search Manager, formulated a search area plan for the SRT assets complimenting the GMP search efforts through the day. Searchers were deployed commencing 20:00 and finishing just after midnight into open land areas around the missing woman’s home address. These included areas of pasture and woodland in the New Springs, Whelley and Top Lock areas including stream courses and a large section of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal.

Alongside the MRT and SRT search operation, GMP Divisional Officers continued with road patrols, Police General Purpose dog team searches, with house-to-house and property searches conducted by GMP Tactical Aid Unit officers.

Throughout the evening search operation, the control and coordination of the search operation was conducted from our team’s control trailer, with ad-hoc catering facilities (as our catering trailer was no longer roadworthy for this search) provided from the back of our Catering Officer’s pickup truck with kind local residents supplying us with endless amounts of hot water and even very kindly supplying us with cakes.

By 00:30 the MRT and SRT search operation was concluded with Police investigations continuing into the early hours of the morning.

From Wednesday morning the 20th August Police assets including PCSO’s and the Merseyside Police Air Support Unit Helicopter were deployed again into search areas around the missing woman’s home.

The search was gaining momentum with radio and press releases being issued when at circa 13:00 the Merseyside Police Helicopter spotted the missing woman in fields adjoining the Leeds & Liverpool Canal.

We understand the woman was admitted to hospital and all who took part in the search operation wish her well in her recovery.

Yet again this search illustrates the excellent joint liaison and cooperation that excists between our team and our colleagues in the MRT and SRT community and also with Greater Manchester Police that can be brought to bear in a large scale search operation of this nature.