Incident 41/2009

At 11.40hrs late this morning the team was paged by Greater Manchester Police in respect of providing assistance with a developing major search for a missing Bolton woman. An 87 years old woman had gone missing from her home address in the Ruins, Longsight Park area of Bolton, sometime between 05.30hrs and circa 07.30hrs this morning in circumstances which gave GMP considerable cause for concern regarding her welfare. At the time of our pager alert GMP Officers had already commenced initial search operations around the vicinity of the missing persons home address.

A full team call out was initiated at 11.47hrs, with two team Landrovers and members on board immediately recalled from a demonstration event they were travelling to at Bispham Hall Scout camp, Wigan. Arriving at the Longsight Lane search RVP at 12.20hrs in continuing conditions of heavy rain and low temperature (7C) our Team Leader Garry Rhodes, liaised with the on scene GMP Inspector / Search Manager.

GMP Tactical Aid Unit officers were immediately deployed into an identified high priority search area, whislt the first elements of the Bolton MRT started to arrive.

Rossendale and Pendle MRT and Cheshire Lowland SART, who had both been placed on standby to assist by our Team Leader, were then asked to respond as the size of the search area became better defined. Throughout the afternoon and into the early evening, a major search operation was mounted, including a SARDA asset, with the heavy rain only ceasing as the evening wore on.

The MRT / LSART / GMP TAU search areas encompassed the Longsight Park area, Bolton Open Golf Course, the woodlands and open meadow land of Firwood Fold, Bradshaw Chapel, Bradshaw Brook, and the moorland fringes around Hardy Mill Quarry and Harwood Golf Course.

Meanwhile other Police resources maintained road patrols, and carried out searches of addresses and locations known to the misssing woman.
This also involved the GMP helicopter hovering over residential areas and carrying out a ’skyshout’ public appeal using the helicopters public address system.

Bolton MRT provided full search co ordination for the operation, including mapping, recording of search areas and debriefing, all run from our Control Trailer. We also had our Catering Trailer on scene providing full catering facilities for the attending Police and civilain searchers. Our ’Aireshelta’ inflatable tent was also deployed to give resting searchers some shelter from the heavy rain whilst they had drink and meal breaks between conducting search operations.

By 19.25hrs in the evening a large search area had been concluded with nothing found to link to the disappearance of the missing woman, with the search operation scaled down awaiting any leads or sightings of the woman to commence new search areas. GMP patrols and enquiries continued, as we returned to our Ladybridge Hall base / HQ to start the huge task of cleaning our vehicles, trailers, catering equipment and ’Aireshelta’.

At circa 20.00hrs the missing woman was found safe and well, by a member of the public, in the Chorley Old Road area of Bolton, some miles distant from where she had gone missing from her home addresss and outside all the search areas.
The news was immediately passed to us once GMP had confirmed her identity.

All the searchers involved are happy that this woman has been reunited with her 92 year old husband and her family at a time when all were becoming increasingly concerned for her well being.

The following assets were involved in todays search.

  • Bolton Mountain Rescue Team, 26x Call Out list members and 3x Support Group members (Gillian Gregory, Johanne Lamb and Iain Clarkson)
    • 4x Land Rover Mountain Rescue Ambulances,
    • Control Trailer,
    • Catering Trailer,
    • ’Aireshelta’ portable inflatable shelter.
  • Rossendale and Pendle Mountain Rescue Team, 12x members,
    • two Land Rover Mountain Rescue Ambulances.
  • Cheshire Lowland Search and Rescue Team, 7x members.
  • Search and Rescue Dog Association handler Alison Nicholson and Search Dog Floss from Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue Team, with navigator Mike King from Rossendale and Pendle Mountain Rescue team.
  • Greater Manchester Police 1x Search Manager.
  • Greater Manchester Police Tactical Aid Unit, 11x
  • Greater Manchester Police Divisional Officers and Police Community Support Officers.
  • Greater Manchester Police Air Support Unit helicopter ’India 99.’