Incident 20/2015 – A very sad outcome to an incident on Spitlers Edge this afternoon

At 13.50hrs this cold and damp wintry afternoon, our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE was directly contacted by the NWAS EOC Broughton Air Desk despatcher, requesting the team’s immediate attendance at a moorland incident on Spitlers Edge, above Hordern Stoops, on the high point between Rivington and Belmont, within the West Pennine Moors.

The response was to a 999 call received concerning a collapsed 73 year old male.

Two team Land Rover Defender Mountain Rescue vehicles already in the team’s operational area were immediately despatched to the initially chosen rescue RVP of Hordern Stoops, whilst a third team Land Rover and our Incident Control vehicle departed from our Ladybridge Hall Base / HQ.

At 13.55hrs our first team vehicle arrived at Hordern Stoops, and meeting two informants here (both informants were members of the walking party). Team members immediately despatched on to the high moorland of Will Narr and onwards to the incident location on Spitlers Edge.


The 73 year old male walker, whilst in an organised walking group of ten companions had suffered a collapse, and whilst awaiting the arrival of emergency services, the companions of the collapsed man had carried out continuous CPR.

The NWAA Helimed 72 had also been called, and arrived on scene, landing in very strong winds just prior to the arrival of our first responding members.


Boltn MRT team members working in association with the NWAA air crew Paramedic and Doctor, took over the CPR, whilst drugs were also administered to the collapsed walker.

Despite the very best efforts of all on scene, including the man’s companions, our team members and the NWAA air crew, the man had sadly died on scene.

Firstly his companions were escorted down to Hordern Stoops, and then the man’s body was brought down off the moor, in a mountain rescue stretcher by team members, arriving at the Hordern Stoops roadside car park RVP at circa 15.00hrs.

Here in a sombre and sad but necessary little exchange, the deceased walking companions bade their farewells to their walking friend.

The NWAA Helimed 72 then airlifted our equipment from the hillside back down from the incident site to the roadside RVP at Hordern Stoops.

The ten walking companions of the deceased man, all from an organised walking group from Cheshire, were then taken by two Lancashire Constabulary vehicles to their vehicles that were parked at Abbey Village.

At 15.48hrs, our Incident Control vehicle was the last emergency services resource to leave the RVP at Hordern Stoops.

The team, responding NWAS Emergency Ambulance crew, NWAA air crew, and responding Lancashire Constabulary Officers involved, all wish to express their sincere condolences to the wife, family and walking companions of the man involved.


The following resources were involved in this sad rescue incident:

  • Bolton Mountain Rescue Team
    • Seventeen team members and two probationary members directly involved in the rescue, two team members arrived on scene after stand down and two further team members were stood down responding.
    • We had three of our Land Rover Defender Mountain Rescue Ambulances present (Bolton Mobiles 1,2 and 3) and our Incident Control Vehicle on scene.
  • North West Air Ambulance
    • Helimed 72 from City Airport Manchester (Barton) Pilot / Captain, Air crew Paramedic and air crew Doctor.
  • North West Ambulance Service (Lancashire)
    • EOC Broughton Air Desk Despatcher
    • Emergency Ambulance from Stacksteads (Rawtenstall) Ambulance Station, crew 1x Paramedic – a former long serving member of Rossendale and Pendle MRT, and 1x Emergency Medical Technician.
  • Lancashire Constabulary
    • First arriving Police resource, 2x Armed Response Officers on Divisional patrol
    • further Divisional Officers and the on duty Divisional Sergeant, in three cars and one van.
  • United Utilities
    • Local on-duty Area Patrol Ranger (Stopped to offer assistance during late stage of incident, whilst passing by)
  • Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue Team were also mobilised to this incident by Lancashire Constabulary, but stood down during the early stages of responding when it was determined that the Bolton MRT had mobilised first at the request of NWAS.