Incident 74/2012

At 13.03hrs this afternoon, our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE was contacted directly by Rossendale and Pendle MRT Trainee Team member Jake Clark, who in turn had been contacted by a male colleague of his, who in the company of a female colleague (To our readers-we hope you are still with us with this report) was out walking in Clifton Country Park, when the females dog had become stuck on steep ground / a rock face, alongside the River Irwell.

The call to our Team Leader was to ask for advice as to what to do.

Our Team Leader in turn arranged with Jake Clark to contact the persons involved directly for further information.

At 13.11hrs our Team Leader contacted the persons involved, speaking to the male, to be informed he was on route to where the dog had become stuck, and could report further when he got there.

Our Team Leader was informed by the male that the RSPCA had been called, that local Rangers were involved and that a call to the Fire Service had been made, but at this stage apparently, they felt it did not warrant their involvement.


Our Team Leader further advised the male not to get himself in difficulties trying to reach the dog but to leave such a rescue if it was indeed needed, to others.

Whilst awaiting a return phone call with more information from the male, our Team Leader decided to contact a small number of team members to request their availability should we be required to rescue the dog and reunite it on safe ground with its owner.

With no return call, at 13.51hrs our Team Leader contacted the male again, this time to be answered by the female dog walker involved, who informed our Team Leader that the dog was now on safe ground, but her male companion was now at the bottom of the same slope, but was safe.

She further informed our Team Leader that the situation was now ok, and that the RSPCA Officer present and the Rangers would be assisting the male back up the slope (Can you guess what’s about to happen readers?)

The female told our Team Leader that the services of the mountain rescue team would definitely not be required.

So at this stage, at 13.53hrs our Team Leader ‘Stood down’ those team members who had stated they were available.

In talking to team member Gyles Denn who was one of those on standby, our Team Leader found out Gyles had actually visited Clifton Country Park, and had come across GMP Police Officers called to the report of a male injured whilst rescuing a dog!

Gyles also established an Ambulance had also been called, and was on route!

In consultation with our Team Leader, Gyles went with the Police Officers to the incident location, finding a male at the foot of a very steep bank, just above a short vertical drop directly into the River Irwell.


Our Team Leader then asked team member Chris Greenhalgh to go to our Ladybridge Hall Base / HQ to crew a Land Rover in case assistance was required by Gyles.

Gyles meanwhile, now established the male had sustained a suspected fractured wrist in rescuing the dog, was in pain and could not climb back up the steep slope unaided.

Furthermore Gyles felt the males location was somewhat precarious, and that a dynamic rescue was now urgently required to at least secure the male, until further rescuers could be summoned.

Gyles using equipment he carries with him, abseiled to the males location, whilst loaning the RSPCA Officer his water safety throwline, to provide bankside safety.

Glyes then requested the Police Officers present at the top of the steep slope to call out the full Bolton Mountain Rescue Team.

At 14.17hrs, the team was paged by GMP Control to respond to this incident, which our Team Leader answered, then paging out the full team.

Meanwhile on scene, with the arrival of responding NWAS Emergency Ambulance personal, Gyles had by now safely secured the injured male to his own rope system and requested that the Ambulance staff lower down ‘Entonox’ pain killing gas, whilst Gyles also splinted the males injured wrist.

GMFRS now arrived after also being called to the report of a male injured whilst rescuing a dog.

A GMFRS Firefighter was then lowered to Gyles, along with a rescue ‘nappy,’ and together they secured the injured male into the rescue ‘nappy.’

A second Firefighter was then lowered down, and the male was then raised on a rope system by firefighters present at the top of the slope.

Our responding team Land Rover then arrived, alongside a small number of responding team members, as the two firefighters down the slope were hauled back up by their colleagues and Gyles self ascended his rope system.

The male casualty was then walked to the NWAS Ambulance for onward transport to hospital.

(Other responding GMFRS Firefighters had provided waterside safety during this rescue)

The following resources were involved in the rescue of the male who in turn had simply gone to the rescue of his friends dog;

  • Bolton MRT; Seven team members on scene, five further team members stood down responding. One Team Land Rover Mountain Rescue Ambulance.
  • Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service; Two Pump Appliances from Farnworth and Broughton Fire Stations. One Pump Appliance and the Fire Service Water Rescue Unit from Heywood Fire Station.
  • One Fire Service Officer in Charge.
  • RSPCA; One Officer.
  • Countryside Ranger Service; Two Rangers.
  • Greater Manchester Police; Four Police Officers.
  • North West Ambulance Service (Manchester); One Emergency Ambulance and two crew members from Sharston Ambulance Station.