Incident 64/2014

This warm and sunny evening at 20.26hrs we were paged by GMP for assistance with a developing search for a missing 64 years old Westhoughton woman, suffering from dementia who had not returned home from walking her dog.

The call was answered by our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE, who contacted the GMP Force Duty Officer at 20.27hrs, and then liaised over the phone with a GMP Missing Person Search Manager at 20.29hrs.

The team was placed on full stand by at 20.36hrs, with team members Steve Fletcher and Mike Marsh at this stage already at our Ladybridge Hall Base / HQ preparing immediate search area mapping.

A quick search strategy was then decided upon, and a full team pager call out was made at 21.06 to 21.09hrs.

At 21.13hrs, our Team Leader contacted Simon Lane, Team Leader of Cheshire SART for a small number of their members to join in the envisaged search, in support of our team.

The woman involved, had last been seen at circa 12.00 noon today, and had been reported missing from a Retirement Home in Westhoughton to GMP at circa 17.30hrs, with local Police Officers commencing a search soon afterwards.

As our team was mobilising, we were informed that a Police helicopter from NPAS had also conducted a search of the area around where the woman was known to frequent, whilst out walking her dog.

Details of the missing woman were paged out to all our responding members, along with a description of her clothing and dog, so they could be on the look out for her whilst en route to the search RVP at Ryelands Court, Westhoughton.

Our first team members arrived on scene at 21.30hrs, with the first of our five responding vehicles arriving on scene at the same time.

Our Trailing Dog Handler Steve Nelson arrived on scene at 21.45hrs, and given the long road journey from his home address, took his Trailing Search Dog Boris for a short walk prior to obtaining a scent article in order to trail / track the missing woman.

At 21.50hrs, Steve Nelson from the pager description issued of the missing woman, recognised a woman with a small dog nearby as the missing woman, and this brought a successful and quick conclusion to this search, to the relief of the missing woman’s concerned husband, who kindly extended his grateful thanks to us and the Police present.

A pager stand down was then made, and all members present at the RVP then returned home.

The following resources were involved in this search incident;

  • Greater Manchester Police; One Police Missing Person Search Manager, local Divisional Officers.
  • National Police Air Service; NPAS 21 helicopter, City Airport Manchester (Barton)
  • Bolton Mountain Rescue Team; Four Team Land Rover Mountain Rescue Ambulances, our Incident Control Vehicle, fifteen Team Call Out list members and one Probationary team member present on scene, with a further three team members stood down responding.
  • SARDA Wales; Mountain Rescue Trailing Search Dog Handler Steve Nelson and Mountain Rescue Trailing Search Dog Boris (Steve is a member of our team and is also included in the figures above)
  • Cheshire Search and Rescue Team; Incident Control Vehicle with six team members on board, plus Team Leader Simon Lane and Deputy Team Leader Rick Lane, all eight stood down responding, more Cheshire SART team members were on home standby / readiness if required.

Commencing last Sunday evening, the team has dealt with two rescues, one of which involved a multi agency response, an RTC, a large scale successful search operation yesterday and this evenings search – combined with a standby rescue cover for a Fell Race on Thursday evening, ‘throw’ in some training and the inevitable kit checking and maintenance and all in all its been a busy week!