Oct 10 2012
The following report was placed on the website of our national organisation; Mountain Rescue England and Wales, on the evening of Sunday 7th October, with regards to the massive search operation conducted by Mountain and Cave Rescue teams and SARDA for April Jones, alongside major resources from other colleague search and rescue organisations and the Police.
Bolton MRTs specialist SARDA (Wales) Trailing Dog (Bolton MRT member Handler Steve Nelson and Search Dog Boris) were deployed to this search operation on Wednesday and Thursday 3rd and 4th October 2012.
Bolton MRT remained in its ‘home’ area, providing cover for other neighbouring MRTs over this last weekend, whilst they in turn deployed to assist in Machynlleth. (See Incident Report 72-2012)
’Over the last week the unpaid professionals of Mountain Rescue England and Wales have contributed an estimated 9250 man hours to the search for April. To put that into context, this would take one person well over 5 working years.’
Official statement from Mountain Rescue:
’On Tuesday morning, Dyfed Powys Police requested Mountain Rescue assistance in the search for April Jones as part of a multi-agency response.
’Initially our task was to help coordinate the fantastic efforts being made by local volunteer searchers, and conduct searches around the residential areas of Machynlleth.
’The scale of the operation quickly increased and mountain rescue teams and search dogs were brought in from throughout Wales, and subsequently from across the UK. As other teams have stepped in to ensure continuity of cover in home areas, this truly has been a response of unprecedented scale.
’Throughout the week and over the weekend the specialist Mountain, cave, water and dog teams of Mountain Rescue have been working through a systematic search plan based on current search management science. This has involved an overhead team of approximately 20 experienced search managers and administrators co-ordinating the efforts of on average 200 searchers per day, behind the scenes at the leisure centre here.
’Whilst your cameras have caught glimpses of teams working through their tasks, almost all our work has been in remote and inaccessible areas. This includes areas best suited to our skills such as the forestry, hills, rivers and quarry workings around Machynlleth. We have searched in excess of 230 areas, over more than 70 square kilometres.
’Over the last week the unpaid professionals of Mountain Rescue England and Wales have contributed an estimated 9250 man hours to the search for April. To put that into context, this would take one person well over 5 working years.
’Mountain Rescue is not unfamiliar with major incidents. We were significant contributors to the rescue efforts of Lockerbie, Morecombe Bay and the Cumbrian floods. In addition each of the 24 teams who have attended here, and those who have to enabled them to do so, each attend 100 or so incidents a year in their home area. What is unfamiliar to us is the level of recognition and media attention we have received here. As each team is a separate Charity, funded entirely by donations we’re very grateful for your support.
’Our focus here has been to find April, applying our skills to the intelligence available to us. We have now reached a point where we have exhausted the search of areas best suited to our skills, given what we currently know and the tasks now being generated are more suited to specially trained police search teams. As such mountain rescue operations will be suspended this evening. We have worked very closely with the Police and remain on-hand to assist with the search if the Police consider it appropriate. Meanwhile local teams intend to return as and when possible.
’As you are aware, members of mountain rescue receive no payment or expenses, and have only been able to attend here with the support of their families and employers. Similarly the support received from the people of Machynlleth has been extraordinary and we cannot put in to words our appreciation for all they’ve done for us. This is a harrowing time for April’s family and the community, and our thoughts are with them all.’
The teams involved include: Aberdovey MRT, Aberglaslyn MRT, Brecon MRT, Bowland Pennine MRT, Central Beacons MRT, Edale MRT, Glossop MRT, Kinder MRT, Llanberis MRT, Longtown MRT, Midlands Cave Rescue, North East Wales SAR, North Wales Cave Rescue Organisation, North Yorkshire Cave Rescue, Ogwen Valley MRT, Oldham MRT, Rossendale and Pendle MRT, SARDA England, SARDA Isle of Man, SARDA South Wales, SARDA Wales, South and Mid Wales Cave Rescue Organisation, South Snowdonia MRT and Western Beacons MRT.
Be proud of your local team. Seek them out, support them in whatever way you can.