Incident 23/2015 – Twelve year old boy suffers serious leg fracture snow sledging at Rivington

At 12.05hrs this chilly afternoon, with a large amount of snow lying on the local moors, including still freezing conditions, we were paged by NWAS EOC Broughton, regards a twelve year old boy “fallen from sledge – leg injury,” on a track near Rivington Hall.

A duplicate pager call out was also received a minute later from NWAS EOC Parkway.

Our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE immediately answered the pager call, whilst Team Call Out Contacts Steve Fletcher and Mike Marsh, along with our Deputy Team Leader Chris Greenhalgh, all made their way to our Ladybridge Hall Base / HQ, to mobilise the two team Land Rovers there, as did team members Nigel Booth and Michael Eddleston (just flown back from New York!) to our GMFRS Bolton North Community Fire Station garage.

Our Team Leader liaised with NWAS EOC Broughton Air Desk despatcher, to try and better determine the actual casualty site, as contact could not be re-established with the casualty party / informant.

With three team vehicles about to mobilise, and now with better information regards the likely casualty site (based on our Team Leader’s expert local knowledge of the area concerned) a full team pager call out was made at 12.23hrs.

The initial RVP of Rivington Hall Barn (locally known as the Top Barn) was used by the responding NWAS Emergency Ambulance, but upon arrival at circa 12.04hrs the crew had not located the casualty site, which led quickly to our involvement.

Our first responding Land Rover went to the ‘Top Barn, but by this time the NWAS Ambulance had relocated to Lower House Car Park, Rivington, based upon the suggestion of our Team Leader.

All team vehicles were requested to RVP at Lower House Car Park, where our first arriving Land Rover with our Deputy Team Leader Chris Greenhalgh and Matthew Hailwood on board, turned up at 12.37hrs, to find the NWAS Ambulance having traction difficulties on the partly ice and compacted snow covered car park.

Our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE next arrived here at 12.40hrs, and Matthew Hailwood was quickly despatched up the likely track of Old Kates, where we thought the casualty site to be.

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Deputy Team Leader Chris Greenhalgh commenced a control point whilst our Team Leader briefed other arriving members on the situation.

Team member Mark Scott, out walking with his wife Megan, in the vicinity of the Pigeon Tower – a local landmark, descended the Old Kates track, and at circa 12.47hrs, at the same time as Matthew Hailwood, came across the casualty site.

A twelve year old boy, sledging, has suffered a very serious femur fracture, and was being comforted by other members of his party, who had a casualty shelter to hand.


The group of three adults and five children, all from Manchester, had been on a winter walk and snow sledging, when this incident occurred.

By 12.57hrs, medical care, splintage and evacuation equipment was on scene at the casualty site, which was alongside the Old Kates track, just below a small stone quarry (known as a delph)

The assistance of the NWAA Air Ambulance was requested and agreed, whilst team members treated the young boy’s serious injury.

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Morphine and Entonox were used for the boy’s pain, whilst his leg was splinted with a Kendrick Leg Traction Splint.

At 13.17hrs Helimed 72 landed very close to the casualty site, managing in an excellent piece of flying from Pilot / Captain Alan Bryers, to put the aircraft safely down on a small flat area atop the nearby quarry, to offload the on board Doctor and Paramedic.

It was decided once the Helimed crew had been off loaded, to reposition the helicopter to the fields, next to the Lower House Car Park area, to enable a casualty handover, with Helimed lifting off at 13.22hrs.

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The casualty was stretcher evacuated, commencing at 13.35hrs, using our SAR Alpine Lite Mountain Rescue Stretcher, with most of our attending members at the scene (13x) wearing boot chains or crampons, due to the very icy and snowy conditions on the Old Kates track.

Passing members of the public, and the adult helpers with the boys party, kindly helped us carry kit down the track.
With the casualty loaded in to Helimed 72, and further treated and assessed, at 14.12hrs, Helimed 72 lifted off for the short direct flight to Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.



By 14.36hrs our last members had departed the RVP.

Team members Nigel Booth and Matthew Hailwood in our Land Rover BM3, then travelled directly to Manchester MRI to retrieve and recover team equipment despatched with the casualty in the helicopter.

Due to traffic conditions, they didn’t return to our Ladybridge Hall base / HQ until 18.30hrs in the early evening, where they also replenished the Entonox used and checked over the equipment used.

The following resources were utilised and involved on this rescue incident

  • NWAS (Lancashire) Broughton EOC Airdesk despatcher.
  • NWAS (Greater Manchester) Emergency Ambulance and two crew (Paramedic and EMT) from Bolton North Ambulance Station.
  • NWAA Helimed 72 from City Airport Manchester (Barton), crew on board, Pilot / Captain, Doctor and Paramedic.
  • Bolton Mountain Rescue Team
    • Four Land Rover Defender Mountain Rescue Ambulances, radio call signs ‘Bolton Mobiles 1,2,3 and 4.’
    • Fourteen team Call Out list members present during the rescue, with thirteen of these at the casualty site, whilst Deputy Team Leader maintained our control / RVP point.
    • One further team member arrived after the incident conclusion.
  • Members of the casualty’s party who initially comforted and cared for the boy, and passing members of the public, who assisted us to carry back our equipment.