Incident 58/2012

At 00.44hrs in the early hours of this morning, the team was contacted via SARCALL and pager by Lancashire Constabulary requesting the teams immediate assistance in relation to a missing person.

The call was answered by our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE who initially liaised with the Force Incident Manager and then the assigned (Police) Missing Person Search Manager.

The search was for a missing 59 years old Blackburn man, who had last been seen by a family member on Sunday evening 12th August, and was reported missing to the Police on Monday 13th August.

On Tuesday afternoon 14th August, the missing persons car was located parked up on the moorland roadside of Belmont Road (A675) alongside Rake Brook Reservoir on the outskirts of Abbey Village.

A Lancashire Constabulary search was launched involving their Police helicopter, a General Purpose Police Dog Unit and local Police Officers.

With mounting concern for the welfare of the missing person, the search was extended to involve mountain rescue and additional Police resources, resulting in the early morning request for our services.

By 00.51hrs our Team Leader had placed the team on immediate standby whilst he journeyed to the Hare and Hounds Public House Search RVP at Abbey Village to further liaise with Police.

Team members consult a map as part of the early morning search
Further pager messages were then made as the requirement for some immediate searching by mountain rescue resources was required.

At 01.28hrs our Team Leader arrived on scene, followed soon by our first responding members.

The team was deployed in searching margins of Rake Brook Reservoir in the Roddlesworth reservoir system, and woodlands on the outskirts of Abbey Village.

With the arrival and subsequent deployment of our specialist Mountain Rescue Trailing Dog, a trail of the missing person from his car was located, leading to a moorland quarry now forming a Christmas Tree Nursery.

Repeated ‘trails’ all led to this former quarry, above the moorland villages of Abbey Village and Withnell, resulting in a very thorough search by Bolton MRT members, assisted by ‘Nitesun’ (A powerful searchlight) illumination by a Police helicopter, which remained on scene from circa 04.20hrs to 04.55hrs.

As the early morning (Thankfully warm and dry) turned into dawn, our search effort did not diminish, but by 06.30hrs this ‘first phase’ of the mountain rescue element of the search was stood down, with Police enquiries and a review of the next phase of the search effort taking place.

By 07.30hrs our members involved were in their beds trying to catch up on much needed sleep.

The following resources were involved in this ‘Mountain Rescue’ phase of the search operation;

  • Lancashire Constabulary; One (Police) Missing Person Search Manager, Local Divisional Officers.
  • North West Air Operations Group (Police) Air Support Unit; Lancashire Constabulary Air Support Unit helicopter ‘Oscar November 99.’
  • Bolton Mountain Rescue Team ; Two Team Land Rover Mountain Rescue Ambulance vehicles, nineteen team Call Out List members (Including Steve Nelson; see below)
  • Search and Rescue Dog Association (Wales); Trailing Dog Team, Handler Steve Nelson and Trailing Search Dog Boris, both Bolton MRT.