Incident 45/2011

At 03:24 in the early hours of this morning, we were paged by NWAS (Greater Manchester area) Belle Vue Control to assist with an incident in the Blackford Bridge area south of Bury.

An NWAS Emergency Ambulance crew had requested MRT assistance, with the evacuation of a male casualty lay at the foot of a 6m / 20 feet vertical drop, on the steep river valley side of the River Roch at Blackford Bridge, alongside the A56 Manchester Road from Whitefield to Bury, in the vicinity of Roach Street.

At 03:32, after liaising with NWAS (Manchester) Control, our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE initiated a full team pager call out, with three Team Land Rover Ambulance Vehicles responding.

Mark Parry, our first team member on scene at 03:45, liaised with the Bury Ambulance Station crew on scene, and formulated the evacuation plan, with the option of a vertical stretcher raise of the casualty or a stretcher carry out through the adjacent dense woodland of the river valley side.

Team members using the roof of the Landrover as a working platform to lower equipment over the 7ft high wall (which had a 20ft drop on the far side!)
Our second team member Diane Blakeley arrived on scene at 03:48, followed by our Team Leader, who with team member Craig Lamb worked their way through the dense woodland to the actual casualty site.

The thirty year old male casualty (from the Whitefield area) had been returning home early morning with a male and female acquaintance, when a mobile phone belonging to the group was dropped over a wall alongside the footpath on Manchester Road, by Blackford Bridge. Apparently not realising there was a vertical drop the other side of the wall, the male had gone over the wall to retrieve the mobilephone and fell landing at the bottom of the vertical retaining wall to the path, in amongst dense tree cover.

The NWAS ambulance crew who had arrived first, had assessed his injuries, and had already splinted a possible fractured lower leg injury.

Team members and the NWAS staff stabilise the casualty before evacuating him from the difficult-to-access location
With more team members arriving, including all three of our responding Land Rovers by 04:10, some rescue and casualty care kit was lowered down the wall via ropes, whilst other members worked their way through the dense tree covered valley side. (One team member Chris Tennant also abseiled directly into the casualty site)

Jointly working with the NWAS Ambulance crewman on scene with the casualty, and assisted by the casualties acquaintance, who was assisting with lighting the scene (Dawn was just breaking) team members placed the casualty onto a full length vacuum mattress, whilst Entonox pain killing gas was made available to the casualty.

The casualty is delivered to the safety of the waiting NWAS Emergency Ambulance.
By 04:43 the male casualty was on one of our specialist Alpine Lite Mountain Rescue Stretchers, and with increasing daylight revealing pathways through the wooded valley sides, it was decided to stretcher evacuate the casualty out this way rather than continue with what would have been a technical vertical rope raise of the casualty on a stretcher up the vertical wall he had fallen down.
By 04:54 the casualty was in the NWAS Emergency Ambulance, which soon departed with him to Bury Fairfield Hospital.

By 05:25 all Bolton MRT personnel had left the roadside RVP with team members Mark Parry and Steve Fletcher (In our BM2 vehicle) travelling to Bury Fairfield Hospital to retrieve our kit used in this rescue.

The following resources were deployed to this incident:

  • NWAS (Greater Manchester Area) Belle Vue Emergency Control and an Emergency ambulance and two crew from Bury Ambulance Station.
  • Bolton MRT; 17x Team call Out list members, three Land Rover Mountain Rescue Ambulance Vehicles.

This incident typifies the very close working relationship we have with NWAS (Greater Manchester Area) their Control Room and Front line Emergency Staff.