Incident 9/2013

At 10.04hrs this very wet new year morning, the team was paged by Lancashire Constabulary regarding a request for our specialist search assistance utilising our water borne assets for a search operation in the Preston Docklands area, in regards to a missing person enquiry.

This area lies within the operational response area of our colleagues at Bowland Pennine MRT, who have the appropriate personal equipment to respond to waters incidents but do not currently possess a search boat (The BPMRT is regularly called to assist in multi agency responses to water incidents) hence our being contacted.

After gathering brief information from the Police Force Incident Manager at Lancashire Constabulary Control, regards the missing woman, our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE sent out an initial team pager call out message at 10.08hrs.

Garry then liaised with our Deputy Team Leader Geoff Seddon (Who heads up our ‘Water Team’) and then gathered further necessary information from the Police Officer involved on scene, before sending out a ‘Limited team member call out’ pager message at 10.28hrs.

Five Bolton MRT appropriately trained team members responded, meeting to depart from our Ladybridge Hall Base / HQ, and travelling to the Preston Docklands RVP in one of our Land Rover Mountain Rescue Ambulance vehicles, along with our 3.5m long semi rigid inflatable SAR Boat.

They arrived at the Search RVP by 11.45hrs, joining a search effort concentrated on the Preston docklands area, involving Lancashire Constabulary resources, assets from the Coastguard Maritime Agency and the North West (Police) Underwater Search and Marine Unit.

Our members attending were tasked, utilising our SAR Boat to conduct a search on the open water of the docklands, (John Dickinson, John Fletcher and Dave Marsh) and a two man canoe (Geoff Seddon and Ged Clarke) to search between the various vessels tied up in the marina area.

Meanwhile the NW(P)USMU were also conducting their operations in the same area, alongside a specialist sonar scan search.

Completing this tasking by 14.20hrs, our members then commenced a Kayak search of the River Ribble bank margins bordering the former docks, when the sad news was received that the body of the missing woman had been located and recovered by the North West (Police) Underwater Search and Marine Unit.

Our members present departed to return to our Ladybridge Hall Base / HQ at circa 15.30hrs.

It was subsequently announced that the body recovered is believed to be that of a 48 years old woman missing from home.

The condolences of the team are expressed to the family of the woman involved.