Incident 31/2011

With our participation at the Rivington Pike events over, most members were well on their way to their homes, when at 18.15hrs this fine sunny evening we were paged by Lancashire Constabulary, to attend a climbing accident at the popular climbing venue of Cadshaw Castle Rocks, Yarnsdale, at the head of Turton and Entwistle Reservoir. (This is the only climbing venue on natural gritstone in our team area, all other rock climbing sites being former quarry workings)

The initial report to us from Lancashire Constabulary was that a female was involved, who had fallen, and that she had lost consciousness for a while.

Team member Steve Fletcher still at our LBH Base / HQ contacted Lancashire Constabulary Control Room to establish more details on the incident, whilst other members quickly returned to our team vehicle garage locations.

At 18.23hrs a more detailed full team call out pager message was made, however most team members were already responding at this stage.

The Ambulance/Police/MRT RVP was on the A666, near its junction with Greens Arms Road, with our first members arriving here at 18.31hrs in our BM6 Land Rover Ambulance, closely followed at this roadside RVP by a small number of first arriving team members, including our Deputy Team Leader Geoff Seddon at 18.37hrs.

Unlike the responding Police and NWAS resources, who left their vehicles at this roadside RVP and walked to the casualty site (some distance away) immediately prior to our arrival, as we have keys to the locked barrier to the forest tracks in this area, we were able to drive most of the distance to the casualty site, parking up at the foot of Cadshaw Quarry, immediately across the wooded moorland valley from Cadshaw Castle Rocks.

Our Deputy Team Leader Geoff Seddon was the first Bolton MRT member to the casualty site at circa 18.42hrs, liaising with the Police and NWAS crew also on scene, and establishing that a 49 years old female climber had taken a fall, whilst reversing a move lead climbing, as a result apparently of some of her ’climbing protection popping out.’

The woman (From the Warrington area) had been climbing in the company of her husband, and two young daughters, and had incurred a head injury, resulting in her losing consciousness for a short while.

Around 18.45hrs, the North West Air Ambulance, ’Helimed 08’ appeared overhead at the roadside RVP, and from the ground was directed to the casualty site, landing at the foot of Cadshaw Castle Rocks at circa 18.49hrs.

By this stage a number of our Team Land Rover Ambulances and more team members had arrived at the nearby Cadshaw Quarry, and equipment was being dispatched to the casualty site from our vehicles and the Air Ambulance, with our stretcher party arriving at the casualty site at 18.55hrs.

The woman was treated for head and suspected neck injuries, being placed on a Long Board Splint with Head Blocks, and then onto our brand new into team service SAR Alpine Lite MR stretcher. (Its first operational use in the team)
The injured climber was then stretcher evacuated by team members down the very steep slopes beneath the climbing crag, to the waiting Air Ambulance, which lifted off en route for Royal Blackburn Hospital at 19.12hrs.

Team member Ged Clarke then transported the husband of the injured woman and their two young children in a team Landrover back to the A666 where their car was parked.

The NWAS crew on scene and Police Officers were also taken in our team vehicles back to their vehicles parked up on the A666.

By 19.50hrs all the responding Emergency Services resources involved in this incident had departed the location.

The following resources were involved in this incident:

  • Lancashire Constabulary; Control Room and four Police Officers from Darwen Police Station.
  • NWAS (Lancashire); Control Room and Air Desk, one Emergency Ambulance from Darwen Ambulance Station, with two crew. (Paramedic and Student Paramedic)
  • North West Air Ambulance, Helimed 08, (Based at Blackpool Airport)
  • Bolton Mountain Rescue Team; 22x Call Out List members, four Team Land Rover Mountain Rescue Ambulances, including three of our brand new in service vehicles.

As ever the overall successful conclusion of this incident was based upon the excellent working relationship and liaisons we have in the team with NWAS (Lancashire), Police Officers from Darwen Police Station, and the crew of the NWAA Helimed 08.

On Saturday April 23rd we received the following email from the husband of the woman involved, which also appears in the guestbook section of our website:

“I’d like to say a big thank-you to all the members of the Bolton MRT who helped to evacuate my wife from Cadshaw Castle Rocks on Good Friday after she had taken a ground fall whilst trying to retreat from a climb. She is now at home and recuperating. Fortunately her injuries were not serious. Thanks again and keep up the good work.”

UPDATE as of 27th April:
We have been made aware that during this incident, two climbers who were not known to the casualty or her family assisted the casualty’s husband in directing the early stages of this incident, which happened prior to our arrival. We didn’t report this assistance in the article above, only because we were unaware of it.

The casualty involved would like to publically thank those two climbers who assisted with the early stages of this incident. (Unfortunately they managed to slip away quietly and so neither we nor the casualty have any record of their names!)

The casualty has posted an entry on our guestbook, which reads:

“I have always respected the efforts of MRTs, even more so having needed one recently! Thanks for thwarting the efforts of my Husband to claim on my life insurance policy and evacuating me so quickly from a local crag over the weekend. I still do not recall the incident, probably as well. However our children have some great shots of each other from inside your landrover and of the helicopter ferrying the casualty away. Very Best Wishes.”