Incident 92/2013

At 15:08hrs this afternoon via the SARCALL Platform alert system, GMP contacted the team for assistance with a developing search for a 66 year old missing male from the Wardley, Swinton area in circumstances giving Police cause for concern regarding his wellbeing.

The call was answered by our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE, who liaised with the on duty GMP Missing Person Search Manager.

At 15.25hrs a full team standby was paged, requesting all members meet at our Ladybridge Hall Base / HQ for a 17.00hrs deployment.

In view of the large potential search areas involved, our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE after consultation with GMP, contacted Cheshire Search and Rescue Team and Rossendale & Pendle MRT for their assistance in the on going GMP search operation.

A large number of Bolton MRT members made themselves available, including readying our vehicles, SAR Boat and Catering Trailer for the 17.00hrs deployment.

Similar arrangements were made by Cheshire SART and RPMRT.

Based on information relevant to the missing person, at 16:49hrs the Bolton MRT was stood down by GMP, as information at this time now negated the requirement for an open land search.
Cheshire SART and RPMRT were also then stood down.

As can happen in these types of enquiries, at circa 17:38hrs our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE was contacted again by GMP who now had new information which suggested that the previous planned search areas should indeed now be tasked.
(So the food bought in preparation for the ‘previous’ planned search would in fact still be required – a big sigh of relief from our President Bob Hutchinson who had purchased £58.00 of bacon and sausages earlier!)

At 17.55hrs the team was paged to respond to this search, meeting at our Ladybridge Hall Base / HQ at 18.20hrs for an 18.30hrs mobilistaion.

By 18.12hrs once again Cheshire SART and RPMRT had been contacted and agreed to attend to assist.

The missing man had last been seen at his home address on Manchester Road, Wardley, Swinton, at circa 19.30hrs on the evening of Wednesday 3rd September 2013.

His disappearance by this stage had prompted the now usual multi media appeals on twitter and Facebook, including appeals for information on his whereabouts by GMP.

By 19.00hrs our Team Leader and a small number of other Bolton MRT members and Cheshire members had arrived at the first Search RVP situated on Moss Colliery Road, Clifton, Swinton.
This initial RVP was changed quickly (In view of the numbers of searchers expected and its better central location) to the car park of the B&Q Store on the B5231 Station Road, Swinton.

Team members from all three Search and rescue teams involved started to assemble here by 19.25hrs, and a full search and rescue control was established out of our Incident Control Vehicle, complimented by our Catering Trailer Unit.

At this stage, a search was already underway by our specialist mountain Rescue Trailing Dog.

Extensive search areas were commenced at circa 19.30hrs, in the densely wooded and grazing open land areas of Wardley Grange, Wardley Hall and adjacent St Mary’s Cemetery, Newtown and Clifton Moss areas, whilst Police Officers concentrated on the built up areas of Wardley and Newtown.

By 23.45hrs all tasked search areas had been completed, and the open land part of the search operation was suspended, with some identified areas of very dense woodland set to be retasked the following day, Thursday 5th September. (Our Trailing Dog Handler and his trailing dog, plus a SARDA Air Scenting Dog and Handler from RPMRT, and seven Bolton MRT supporting team members were on standby to undertake this tasking)
By 00.15hrs on Thursday 5th September, all search assets had left the RVP area.

This still ‘left’ the task of ensuring search documentation was all up to date and prepared for the envisaged next phase / 2nd day search, so our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE and his colleague Missing Person Search Manager Bolton MRT Steve Fletcher found themselves at our Ladybridge hall Base / HQ way past the time their team colleague shad retired to their beds.

At 08.37hrs on Thursday morning, 5th September, came the news from GMP that the missing person had been located outside the search areas, by a member of the public who then contacted the Police, with the result that the search enquiry was closed.

The following resources were all involved and utilised during this search operation;

  • Bolton Mountain Rescue Team; 38x Operational Call Out list members and three members of our Support Group (Iain Clarkson, Sarah Hindle and Gary Melia) Four Land Rover Mountain Rescue Ambulance vehicles, our Incident Control Vehicle, our Crewbus / Ambulance vehicle, our Catering Trailer Unit and our 3.5m long semi rigid Inflatable SAR Boat (Not utilised, but available if any of the many water areas within the search areas required investigation)
  • Rossendale and Pendle Mountain Rescue Team; 14x Operational Call Out list members, One Land Rover Mountain Rescue Ambulance and one Toyota HiLux Mountain Rescue Ambulance vehicle.
  • Cheshire Search and Rescue Team; 7x Operational Call Out list members, and one Land Rover SAR Ambulance vehicle.
  • Greater Manchester Police; Two Missing Person Search Managers and local Divisional Officers.
  • SARDA (Wales); Mountain Rescue Trailing Dog Handler Steve Nelson (Bolton MRT) and his Mountain Rescue Trailing Search Dog Boris.

The Bolton MRT would like to express thanks to the management of B&Q Swinton, for allowing the use of their car park for all involved.

We would also like to express thanks to the many local farmers and land owners for their help and assistance.

Use during this search operation was made of the ‘Winter Hill Repeater’ aiding our radio communications, and as ever we would like to thank Bowland Pennine MRT for allowing us to use this facility, particularly as they were utilising it at the time for a training exercise and kindly vacated its use for us.

Readers maybe interested to learn that Steve Nelson, our Trailing Dog Handler who was operational during this search, had also been contacted regards a possible involvement in a search in the Wrexham area.

As a footnote to this call out, we had been scheduled to receive this same evening a substantial cheque donation arising from our involvement in the Horwich Festival of Racing 2013 Event alongside a donation from Lostock Harriers AC, regards our provision of standby rescue cover for their annual Hendersons End Fell Race.

These donation presentations have now been rescheduled for Wednesday 18th September 2013.