Incident 93/2009

At circa 09:40 this morning, our Team Leader Garry Rhodes was directly contacted by a GMP Missing Person Search Manager regards a search operation commencing in the High Rid reservoir area of Bolton.

Just after 06:30 this morning, a concerned member of the public contacted police regarding a dog alongside a vehicle, with no owner in sight. Initial police investigations led to growing concern that the dog owner may have had an accident in the local area and a search effort was instigated.

Access to the vehicle’s location near to the main entrance of High Rid reservior was difficult due to lying snow and ice and very poor road conditions. With continuing low temperatures, and indications that the vehicle had been in this location overnight there was mounting urgency to locate the missing person, belived to be the male owner of the parked vehicle.

Two United Utilities workers conducted an immediate search of the reservior margins, alongside divisional police resources. A full team callout was initiated at 10:08 resulting in 14 team members being available. As team members arrived at the High Rid reservior location, they were immediately despatched to search adjoining land areas, paying particular attention to dog tracks and human footprints in the snow.

At 11:20 the Greater Manchester Police Air Support Unit helicopter commenced an intensive search of the High Rid reservior area, surrounding fields and woodlands. The helicopter at one stage landed next to the search control to liaise directly with the Police and MRT search managers.

Just after midday, a search of the reservoir water surface was commenced by Bolton MRT Deputy Team Leader Geoff Seddon, who is a canoe/kayak/water activities instructor at High Rid Reservoir. The immediate margins of the reservoir had already been searched by United Utilities staff, Police officers and Bolton MRT members. Sadly at circa 12:35 DTL Geoff Seddon located the body of the missing man drowned underneath ice on the margin of the reservoir banking.

Immediate and subsequent police investigations at the scene led to the conclusion that the man had unfortunately been the victim of a tragic accident, possibly somehow involving his dog. The man’s body was recovered to the side of the reservoir by suitably equipped and experienced team members, using a small inflatable boat. Team members then remained on scene to assist with the further recovery of the body to dry land and to await the arrival of the police Doctor and Undertakers.

The team’s condolences are expressed to the parents of this missing man who suffered such a tragic accident, and to his colleagues and friends.

During this search operation, the team was called out to three seperate incidents on behalf of the NWAS (Manchester), see news articles for incidents 94-96/2009.

Articles appeared in The Bolton News and BBC News Online regarding this incident.

Special thanks to former callout list team member and team supporter Dianne Blakeley who kindly assisted on this search, alongside our President Bob Hutchinson, also a former callout list member, who came out of his retirement to help us.