Incident 33/2013

In still full and very wintry conditions despite the onset of heavy rain and thawing temperatures, we were paged at 18.29hrs to assist Lancashire Constabulary in locating and evacuating two male adults, five children and two dogs, stuck in their two 4×4 vehicles on an ice and snow bound moorland track.

All the party were we believe, from the Wigan area.

During the mid afternoon, they had travelled along the publicly accessible moorland road (Ordinarily a still driveable even to ordinary cars, moorland track – but in these wintry conditions only accessible to 4×4 vehicles) which was snow and ice covered, of Georges Lane, looking for a suitable location alongside the moorland track where they could all sledge, particularly as they had both young children with them including a disabled child, and they obviously wanted easy access to give all the experience of sledging.

Not familiar with the area, they reached a point on Georges Lane, alongside the Pigeon Tower in Rivington Terraced Gardens, where the track ‘changes’ to the private section known as Belmont Road.

Ordinarily this is closed by a locked gate, but vandals had removed the lock, badly damaged and opened the gate, and the party in their vehicles not being aware of this, drove on through the opening whereupon their vehicles became stuck on the track.

By nightfall and after contacting Lancashire Constabulary, an evacuation of the entire party from their predicament was deemed necessary, leaving their two vehicles for later recovery.

With a full team pager mobilisation at 18.41hrs, following our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE initially liaising with Lancashire Constabulary, we were firstly tasked with finding the group (They were found still sensibly in their stuck vehicles, on the moorland track of Belmont Road in the vicinity of Noon Hill) and then carried out a successful evacuation using two of our team Land Rover Mountain Rescue Ambulances, which we drove to their location, along with a Police Vehicle and our Deputy Team Leader Geoff Seddon’s 4×4 vehicle.

The party were evacuated to Chorley Police Station by the team, with the incident concluded at Chorley Police Station by 21.30hrs.

In total twenty Bolton MRT call out list members deployed to this incident, with most ‘on hold’ at the Incident RVP on Georges Lane in the vicinity of Montcliffe Quarry, Horwich. (The initial RVP of Lower House Car Park, Lever Park, Rivington, was changed early on in the incident response)

We deployed all four of our Land Rover Mountain Rescue Ambulance Vehicles, alongside a number of team members private 4×4 vehicles.

Lancashire Constabulary responded with a small number of local Officers in three vehicles.