Incident 114/2008

At 16:45 hrs today whilst still at our team base following the equipment demonstration at Broughton Fire Station, in the company of two other team members our team leader received a direct mobile phone call out from NWAS (Manchester) PEC (Paramedic Emergency Control) regarding the initial reports of a woman fallen off a bridge in the Stoneclough area.

A full team call out was paged at 16:49 hrs by which time our Bolton Mobile 2 vehicle with two crew on board and our team leader in his vehicle were already mobile. During the response NWAS PEC regularly updated our team leader by mobile phone and our responding crews via ERC.

Joining our response was our returning contingent in Bolton Mobile 4 from the Dartmoor exercise, who received the call out in the Leigh area and responded accordingly.

As more information was received during the teams response it became apparent that a rapid response vehicle paramedic was now on scene with the casualty and was reporting that the woman involved had apparently fallen over 40 feet vertical from the parapet of a bridge.

At 17:05 our BM2 vehicle and our Team Leader arrived at the ambulance RVP point at Seddon Fold Farm in the Stoneclough area. An NWAS emergency ambulance from Middleton had also previously arrived at this location and was able to direct our Team Leader to the casualty site.

By circa 17:18 our Team Leader and three other team members forming the initial response party arrived at the casualty site to joining the RRV paramedic.

It was quickly established that a 20 year old woman had indeed fallen some 40 feet vertical from a bridge parapet landing on rocky rubble immediately alongside the River Irwell.

The woman involved was in considerable pain and very cold due to the very wet and very muddy ground she had fallen on to. She was being comforted by two male colleagues.

An initial difficulty, which was then present throughout this incident, was the fact that the casualty and her two male colleagues were foreign nationals and there was considerable language difficulties involved in explaining our actions.

As more team members arrived and the incident developed appropriate equipment was dispatched to the casualty site, including the all important lighting given that this operation was taking place in the dark.

By 17:45 hrs the 20 year old female casualty had been stabilised on site and due to suspected spinal injuries had been placed on a full-length back board with head blocks and cervical immobilisation. In turn she was then placed on a Bell Mountain Rescue stretcher.

A simple rope haul system was set up by the team to get the stretcher up a short, but very steep muddy slope before continuing the carry to the waiting ambulance.

A rope handline had also been set up to assist team members and also to aid the womans’ two companions and the RRV paramedic back up the slope.

By 17:59 hrs the casualty had arrived at the ambulance and was transferred along with one of her colleagues to Royal Bolton Hospital.
Our Deputy Team Leader Geoff Seddon took her other colleague to hospital following the ambulance.

In total 25 Bolton MRT members were involved in this incident along with our four Mountain Rescue ambulances. NWAS (Manchester) included a rapid response vehicle paramedic and an emergency ambulance crew from Middleton Ambulance Station.

The team also received much help by the way of directions to the casualty site from local youths.

With responding team members vehicles effectively blocking by necessity a nearby residential street the team thanks the residents involved for their consideration.

Taking place in darkness and in a very difficult to reach location this incident illustrated how the Bolton MRTs skills and resources can be utilised to excellent advantage working alongside NWAS resources.

We would like to place on record the excellent working relationship that was present throughout this incident from the three NWAS Emergency Ambulance staff involved and thanks to all at NWAS PEC for their direction and assistance to us for this incident.