Incident 46/2010

Whilst responding to Incident 45, the team was paged at 18.06hrs by Lancashire Constabulary regards three missing hill walkers lost in the dark and in nil visibility misty conditions on the local moorlands.

Answered by our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE, it was quickly determined he would liaise with Police regards this incident, assisted by team member Steven Fletcher, whilst our Deputy Team Leader Geoff Seddon would control the rescue which constituted our Incident 45.

Lancashire Constabulary directed Garry and Steven to meet up with responding Police Officers in the Sheephouse Lane area of Rivington, which local knowledge proved to be the Lower House Car Park area of Rivington.

Meeting a Police Officer here, Garry was informed that via mobilephone communications with the three missing hill walkers, they were reporting that they could hear emergency vehicle sirens, although it was not clear if it was the sirens of the Police vehicle at Lower House (which were left on to try and guide the missing walkers) or they were the earlier sirens of our emergency response and that of NWAS to the previous incident.

At this stage the Police were assuming the walkers were in the vicinity of Lower House, Rivington.

Our Team Leader Garry Rhodes then spoke to the three missing adult woman hillwalkers, (aged 36,38 and 51, all from the Liverpool area) and after first ascertaining they were warm and well, tried to determine their whereabouts.
It was quickly established they were actually on Anglezarke Moor, with their last known position being on the trackless moorland above the now barely visible ruins of Simms Farm.

Garrys suggestion that the Police Officer at Lower House go onto the Simms / Hempshaws (Fire Access) track in the Police Officers 4WD to try and locate the three was taken up, with Garry driving along the Rivington to Belmont road with his vehicles sirens on to further try and give the three hill walkers something to base their location on.

At circa 19.15hrs the three missing hill walkers managed to spot the lights in the misty conditions of Police Officers on the Lead Mines Valley track, and they quickly headed towards the Officers, and were ultimately collected by the Police vehicle team member Steve Fletcher was in.

The three hill walkers were then transported back to their car at Rivington Hall Barn Car Park, by Police, arriving to witness other Bolton MRT team members dealing with the conclusion of the previous incident.

After thanking Garry for the teams help the three made their way home to Liverpool. Our Team Leader then liaised with the Police Inspector and Sergeant involved, with both commenting on the excellence of Garrys local knowledge. (well he has been walking the local moors regularly since 1974, and was a local moorland Voluntary Ranger for a number of years)

In total two Bolton MRT members were involved directly in this incident, 8x other members were available at the conclusion of the previous incident with other members stood down responding to our Ladybridge Hall Base / HQ, where they had been told to assemble in a pager message sent at 18.16hrs. (In total some 18x Bolton MRT members were available)

Lancashire Constabulary resources included Divisional Officers with their Air Support Unit Helicopter requested but unable to take off and participate due to poor visibility conditions.

(Please note that Anglezarke Moor falls within the primary operational area of our neighbouring colleagues of Bowland Pennine MRT).