Incident 20/2016 – Search for missing man at Cox Green Quarry, Egerton, has tragic outcome

During Sunday 31st January 2016, GMP were informed of a missing 82 years old man from the Bromley Cross area of Bolton.

The man was missing having left his home address in his car, and with mounting concern for his well being, GMP initiated a social media appeal in an attempt to locate the missing man, including his vehicle.

In the evening of this same day, his car was located at the junction of Great Stones Close and Cox Green Road, in the Cox Green area of Egerton, Bolton.

GMP very quickly decided upon the need for a search of the immediate area, and with Cox Green Quarry being near to the missing mans car location, the need to search this densely wooded steep sided quarry was paramount.

At 22.18hrs, we were paged by Greater Manchester Police to lend our assistance to the growing Police search being mounted.

Our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE liaised with a GMP Missing Person Search Manager, which led to a full team pager immediate call out at 22.52hrs.

With our first personnel arriving at the search RVP at 23.25hrs, at the same location as the mans car was found, a large Police attendance was also developing.

At 23.30hrs our Incident Control Vehicle arrived on scene, and an immediate search plan was formulated by our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE and Training Officer Alistair Greenough, based upon other incidents we have attended at this same quarry.

With attending Police Officers being briefed to search the more accessible parts of the immediate area, including nearby residential properties, three search parties of Bolton MRT members were despatched in to the densely wooded Cox Green Quarry, commencing at 23.35hrs.

Circa twenty minutes later came the sad news that the body of the missing 82 year old man, had been located at the base of a rock face by one of the Bolton MRT search parties.

Necessary protocols by the team members to preserve the scene were then undertaken, whilst Police Officers were called back from their taskings to the search control, set up in our Incident Control Vehicle.

At this stage some of the Police Officers present were then despatched to another missing person search enquiry in the Wigan area, and a reduced on scene Police presence stayed to support the mountain rescue body recovery operation.

We despatched to the scene, our specialist ‘Peli’ scene lighting units, whilst also marking out clear routes in the darkness, through the densely vegetated quarry, with chemical lightsticks.

Other team members carried out a search of the top of the quarry, whilst also protecting the scene below the edge of the quarry.

In the early hours of the morning, team members then escorted on two occasions, Police Officers in to the quarry, providing for their safety and lighting needs, to enable them to carry out their work.

Following the removal of the mans body from a very difficult to access location at the base of the rock face, the man was then carried out of the quarry by members of Bolton MRT using one of our mountain rescue stretchers.

By 02.30hrs the recovery operation was completed, and all responding Police and Mountain Rescue personnel left the scene of this tragic incident.

The sincere condolences of the Bolton Mountain Rescue Team are extended to the family of the man involved.

The following resources were deployed to this incident;

  • Great Manchester Fire and Rescue Service; Air Unit Drone, and drone pilot / operator (due to very strong winds it was not possible to deploy the drone)
  • Greater Manchester Police; Numerous Divisional Response Officers, Duty Inspector, Detective Sergeant, two Tactical Aid Units, at least two Police Missing Person Search Managers.
  • Bolton Mountain Rescue Team; Four Land Rover Defender Mountain Rescue Ambulances, Ford Transit minibus Ambulance, Volkswagen Crafter van based Incident Control Vehicle, twenty operational members on scene, including our DVSD Dog Handler Dave Marsh and his Search Dog Sasha.