Incident 47/2013

As the previous incident was concluding, we were paged by NWAS (Lancashire) EOC Broughton, regarding an incident unfolding in the Rivington area.

Our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE liaised with the Air Ambulance Despatch desk at NWAS (Lancashire) EOC Broughton, establishing that an accident had just been reported in the vicinity of Rivington Pike, involving a male with a reported suspected fractured leg.

With all four Team Land Rovers together still at the concluding stage of Incident 46, an immediate response was made.

Aware of access difficulties to this normally very accessible general location, due to drifting snow blocking many local roads and normally driveable moorland tracks, a full team pager call out was also made at 16.37hrs.

Our first team members, Deputy Team Leader Geoff Seddon and Mike O’Brien arrived together at the initial (And only locally accessible point) RVP of Rivington Hall Barn at 16.48hrs, meeting the male informant.

We were informed that a party of six people, four from a band and two photographers, (Five males and one female) had walked up to the Terraced Gardens at Rivington, whereupon during their descent, one of the group, a 36 year old male from Birkenhead, had slipped on snow, resulting in a lower leg injury.

By 16.52hrs three team members, Gillian Leigh, Martin Banks and Dave Cook, were sent to locate the casualty position and other members of the group.

At 17.02hrs our first Land Rovers arrived (BM3 / BM1) at the new RVP by the South Lodge entrance to the Terraced Gardens.

At 17.10hrs the male casualty and his four friends were all located, at the ‘Summer House’ look out overlooking Seven arch Bridge in the Terraced Gardens.

The casualty had suffered a suspected fractured right ankle.

Conditions in the Terraced Gardens were treacherous underfoot, with the steep stepways all covered in deep drifted and very solid snow and ice.

By 17.25hrs our stretcher and casualty care equipment party had arrived at the casualty site, and more intensive casualty care could now commence.

At this same time the Yorkshire Air Ambulance helicopter also landed near to our vehicles at the South Lodge entrance. (The North West Air Ambulance Helimed 72 had originally been despatched but was redirected to another priority, the call being passed to NWAA Helimed 08, also redirected, so the YAA was the third helicopter called to respond)

Pain killing gas was quickly offered to the casualty, whilst due to impending darkness and the cold, his four friends present at the casualty site, were escorted down the steep stepways by three team members. (All five of the injured mans companions were from Liverpool)

At 17.45hrs with the onset of darkness, the Yorkshire Air Ambulance had to depart, as it was not equipped for night flying operations. (The aircraft was the standby airframe)

At 17.46hrs a mountain rescue stretcher evacuation commenced, down the very steep snow and ice covered paths of the Terraced Gardens.

We then learnt that the NWAS Emergency Ambulance, despatched to take the casualty now Helimed had departed, had got stuck in the snow drifts blocking the Belmont to Rivington road at Hordern Stoops.

By now the casualty was at the vehicle RVP at the South Lodge entrance to the Terraced Gardens, and at circa 18.20hrs NWAS (Lancashire) EOC requested we transport the casualty to Royal Bolton Hospital in one of our vehicles.

At 18.26hrs the casualty departed in our Deputy Team Leaders 4×4 vehicle, with team member Samantha McKay also attending, being taken to Royal Bolton Hospital.

Throughout this incident the only safe way team members could proceed was by wearing either boot ‘snowchains’ or crampons.

In total 23x Bolton MRT members were involved on scene with this incident, alongside all four of our Land Rover Mountain Rescue Ambulances.