Incident 103/2008

Three very experienced mountain bikers were enjoying the delights of mountain biking in the Rivington area today, when descending from the moorland landmark summit of Rivington Pike, one of the group, a 33 year old female mountain biker from the Clitheroe area, suffered a fall resulting in a suspected fractured collar bone.

The 999 call just before 12:15 resulted in the initial response of the Greater Manchester Police Air Support Unit helicopter, India 99 from City Airport, Manchester (Barton Airport as was).

GMP then contacted the North West Ambulance Service, who in turn despatched the North West Air Ambulance helicopter Helimed 08 from its Blackpool Airport base.

At 12:23 our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE, received a direct telephone call to mobilise the team to this incident from NWAS (Lancashire) who had already been made aware earlier in the day that the team had elements at our Ladybridge Hall base/HQ and at a local park event (see entry for ’Dig It’ event at Queens Park, Bolton, dated today).

One team Landrover Ambulance – BM4 – responded from the Queens Park ’Dig It’ event, with all our other vehicles responding from Ladybridge Hall base/HQ.

The team was made aware that the accident was probably in the vicinity of Rivington Pike, and as a precaution against the incident being in the usual area of the Pigeon Tower, our Deputy Team Leader, who lives in Horwich, was despatched along with our BM4 vehicle to the Lower House area, whilst all other vehicles, including the Hummer (on its second call out with the team since receipt on Thursday evening 9th October) were despatched to the Rivington Pike area via the high moorland edge track of Georges Lane.

At 12:35 a full team pager call out was initiated in case the accident required more team members in the event a longer stretcher carry was needed than the immediately responding team members could deal with. This request was subsequently cancelled by pager at 12:41 as no further personnel were required.

Directed by members of the public, our BM2 and BM3 vehicles arrived on scene at 12:38, with the GMP ASU helicopter India 99 overhead trying to locate the casualty site.

Both BM2 and BM3 were able to drive close to the actual incident site via a nearby rough access track, and team members were immediately despatched to the casualty site, including two medical Doctors who were co-incidentally with the team for the day (both have an interest in joining the team).

At this stage the NWAA Helimed 08 helicopter arrived overhead, as more responding Bolton MRT vehicles arrived on scene (including those redirected from Lower House, now the casualty site had been established).

By 12:47, Helimed 08 had managed to land very close to the injured women, and her treatment was jointly managed by the aircrew Paramedics and Bolton MRT team members.

Given pain relief (Entonox) the injured female mountain biker was placed on a stretcher and carried by the Air Ambulance aircrew and team members the short distance to the helicopter.

All of this was taking place in full view of the many visitors, namely walkers, fellrunners and other bikers to this moorland summit, and team members were then employed to form a safety cordon around the helicopter landing zone to allow its safe take off.

At 13:08 the NWAA Helimed 08 departed with the casualty for the short flight to Royal Blackburn Hospital.
Team members then offered to take the injured woman’s mountain bike to the Great House Barn area on the roofrack of one of our vehicles… all part of the service – maybe we could claim salvage rights!

In total 17 Bolton MRT members were involved in this incident, with a further three stood down responding.


Team vehicles at the RVP – the orange effect is a result of the smoke flare used to assist with the Helicopter marshalling

Yet again this incident represents the close working relationship the Bolton MRT has with Helimed 08 and India 99, indeed one of the Paramedics on board Helimed 08 is known to us from his previous post at Darwen Ambulance station, and he also came out with the team on a number of occasions prior to getting accepted as Helimed 08 aircrew.

As a footnote, on a visit to the GMP Air Support Unit on Monday 13th October 2008, for a photo shoot with the Hummer, we found out they had filmed the whole incident from the air whilst hovering overhead, including the arrival of Helimed 08 and furthermore they kindly let us have a copy of their tape of the incident.