Incident 97/2010

At 13:28 today, whilst at our Ladybridge Hall Base/HQ, in the company of a small group of team members, having completed our monthly vehicle valet day, our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE was directly contacted by NWAS Lancashire ECC requesting the team’s assistance with the report of a crashed parapenter pilot in the vicinity of Winter Hill summit.

The 999 call had been received minutes earlier, resulting in the dispatch of the North West Air Ambulance Helimed 72 (City Airport, Manchester) and an NWAS (Lancashire) Emergency Ambulance.

One Bolton MRT team vehicle, BM2, already out in the Sharples area, and our BM3 and BM4 vehicles at Ladybridge Hall, with in total 11 team members on board were able to make an immediate response, with a full team callout pager message being sent at 13:37.

Our first vehicle (and team members) BM4 arrived at the scene of the accident at 13:44, closely followed by our BM3 vehicle at 13:46 and BM2 at 13:47. Colleagues of the injured parapenter guided vehicles to the end of the Winter Hill mast access road, and then onto the actual incident site, on the Winter Hill summit area overlooking Hordern Stoops.

Team members at the scene of the accident, just before the arrival of Helimed 72As our first team members arrived at the casualty site, Helimed 72 appeared overhead and carefully selected a nearby landing site, giving due consideration to the closeness of the various mast installations on Winter Hill summit.

Team members treating the injured maleThe 37 year old male parapenter involved, a member of the Pennine Soaring Club, had apparently suffered a heavy landing resulting in injury to himself. Nearby colleagues of the Pennine Soaring Club, including their Chairman, all went to his aid and rendered immediate assistance.

The casualty is carried up the hill to the waiting helicopterAlthough the recent rapid thaw had resulted in the disappearance of snow and ice (see website photos dated Wednesday 8th December taken at the same location as this accident), temperatures at the north-facing site were still hovering around 0 degreeC with little evidence of the heavy overnight frost having thawed.

Team members including our Team Doctor, and the NWAA Aircrew Paramedics treated the injured man (from Freckleton, Lancashire), for suspected spinal, shoulder and leg injuries. He was carefully splinted on scene, given painkilling gas and Oxygen, and then stretcher evacuated to the helicopter waiting on the hill above, commencing at 14:12.

The casualty is loaded into the helicopterIn the helicopter away from the cold, a further casualty examination took place, whilst team members secured a take-off cordon around the aircraft and requested at least one other parapenter (apparently unaware of the accident), to cease flying whilst the helicopter took off.

At 14:33 Helimed 72 departed the accident scene transporting the casualty very quickly to Royal Preston Hospital.

Helimed 72 departs for Royal Preston Hospital with the casualty on boardAll team members involved in this incident departed the Winter Hill summit area by circa 14:45 returning to our Ladybridge Hall Base/HQ by 15:00.

Our BM4 vehicle, which later went to Royal Preston Hospital to retrieve our equipment used in this operation were informed that the man involved had suffered a fractured clavicle and soft tissue injuries in the accident.

This rescue took place in full view of a great many hill walkers in the area as well as Pennine Soaring Club colleagues of the injured man. All who witnessed this rescue commented to our team members on the very fast and efficient joint Mountain Rescue/Air Ambulance operation which they had witnessed. The team would also like to thank NWAS Lancashire ECC Broughton for their help and advice regarding this incident location.

In total 22 team members were involved on scene with this incident, alongside 2 other team members who were stood down responding.