Annual Reports – 2001 to 2011

This year brought a significant decrease in the number of incidents that we responded to, with 74 incidents logged throughout 2011 as opposed to 113 the previous year.

Nevertheless there were several interesting “firsts” for Bolton MRT throughout the year, coupled with increasing work alongside the NWAS Hazardous Area Rescue Teams.

In late April and early May, the team was called to assist the Lancashire and Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue services over three separate days (almost 48 hours time logged in total) whilst they fought the largest moorland wildfire that the country had seen for many years, on Anglezarke Moor. Bowland Pennine MRT also assisted in a major capacity in the same incident.

One interesting rescue operation this year was the night-time evacuation of a very seriously ill woman occupant of a narrow boat on the Leeds and Liverpool canal,
As with previous years we also dealt with the usual number of rambling, hill walking, climbing and horse riding accidents.

In total, 113 numbered incidents were recorded by the team this year , with a total of 138 distinct incidents attended making it our third busiest ever year – this increase being due to the 26 incidents attended by the team on January 5th 2010 (as a result of the snow causing a Major Incident declared by NWAS Manchester). These 26 incidents were recorded as one, 12/2010.

During this large scale, wide area deployment on January 5th 2010, the team was constantly active from 04:37 in the morning through to 17:40 in the evening; a most memorable day for those involved, with the assistance of Bolton MRT and of course many other MRTs surrounding the Manchester area earning considerable praise from Derek Cartwright, NWAS Director of Emergency Operations and Bob Williams, NWAS Deputy Chief Executive.

The team assisted NWAS further during the first half of January, with another 25 incidents attended directly due to the snowfall (as well as one standby for Yorkshire Ambulance Service, with vehicles holding at the M62 J.23, outside Halifax)

After a busy start to the year, February and March brought a much needed respite!

2010 saw a number of “firsts” for the team’s Water Search & Rescue Unit. The team’s brand new 3.5m semi-rigid inflatable boat, purchased in May of this year, was deployed on 4 incidents this year.

During 2009, the theme of 2008 continued with generally more rescue work than search work.

Included in this were a number of ‘standby’ incidents for the NWAS Lancashire & Manchester services at the start of the year due to wintry conditions; this pattern of work continued in the 2009/2010 winter season.

The snowfall in mid-December in the Greater Manchester area triggered many calls on the team, with our first ever callout on Christmas Day & multiple callouts on Boxing Day to New Year’s Eve 2009 also included incidents involving numerous body recoveries from water and two aircraft crash standbys.

In total we attended 103 incidents – which consisted of 137 separate incidents. Including another first for the Team, 2 searches for 2 different people, not connected, but in the same location.

Incidents during 2008 are now showing that the team has fallen in to a broad pattern of more rescue work and less search work than in previous years.

We continue to directly assist NWAS (Manchester) with the provision of specialists crews and our vehicles during certain peak demand periods on their service as well as more general assistance during periods of wintry driving conditions.

Another year breaking all previous records with the number of incidents attended. As in previous years, a very wide and varied range of incidents was dealt with including the high-profile local search for missing Lostock man John Nuttall, whose body was sadly discovered outside the search areas some time after our involvement.

This proved to be our busiest year to date for incidents, breaking the previous record only set last year. The usual varied range of incidents was dealt with in our upland and lowland operating areas, including the high profile search with a sad outcome for a missing boy in the Bury area in March. Other notable searches this year included the intensive search in the North Cheshire area for the Reverend Michael Robinson, resulting in the sad location of his body and the large scale search co-ordinated by the team for a missing man in the Wigan area, in the early part of July, again ultimately with a sad outcome.

A large volume of our workload arose from direct assistance calls to the North West Ambulance Service (Greater Manchester Area) who called on the team many times, planned and unplanned, due to service demands at the time of the World Cup and over the festive Christmas and New Year periods.

Well 2005 concluded with an amazing 135 separate incidents that the teams’ services had been called upon to offer assistance.
Incidents dealt with went right across the spectrum of calls we now regularly receive and demonstrate the very close working relationship we now have with our colleagues in the Police, Fire and Ambulance Services alongside calls to assist other Mountain Rescue Teams.

2004 concluded almost at midnight with 96 incidents recorded, right across the whole spectrum of work that we are now involved in.

To date, 2004 turned out to be our third busiest year since formation in 1968.

Another first was two calls to Hot Air Balloon crashes (or “controlled forced landings” as we subsequently found out). As ever we had our usual numbers of Mountain Bike incidents, off-road motorcycle incidents and moorland road traffic accidents to deal with, alongside our usual “customers”. In a sign of the times, towards the end of the year another first was notched up when the Team was put on standby to assist GMAS for a Major Incident in Bolton, involving an explosive device.

Our longest operation of the year, was our involvement in Warrington, for Cheshire Constabulary, following the disappearance of a 17 year old girl. Over 5 days, we provided 68 man days of search input amounting to 775 man hours.

2002 turned out to be a very busy year, with summer dominated by our considerable involvement in the M2002 Commonwealth Games Cycling events around Rivington. (We were even mentioned in the New Zealand Herald, concerning our involvement in assisting a seriously injured Kiwi competitor!). Games aside, we were called to the usual mix of incidents, ranging from mountain bikers to off-road motorcyclists, ramblers coming to grief, and moorland road traffic accidents.

All in all, 2002 was a busy and varied year, which saw us working alongside not just our usual colleagues in the Ambulance, Police, and Air Ambulance services, but also GMCFS.

Our incident figures for 2001 were lower than normal, reflecting the closure of much of the local countryside and uplands due to foot and mouth.

We were still kept busy with 59 incidents of varied types, ranging from lowland search operations to multi agency emergency responses to serious incidents. Notable incidents included the rescue of a young boy and girl at night time, who had both fallen over an estimated sheer 40 foot drop, overlooking the River Irwell. This rescue involved the team in a central role alongside multiple resources from GMFS, GMAS, and GMP, including their helicopter. Three serious mountain bike incidents dealt with in the latter part of the year reflect the growing popularity of our team upland area for mountain biking.

The team attended 92 operational incidents and callouts in the year 2000, these included:

A serious quarry accident
Searches for missing children
Assisting the ambulance services in wintry weather
Snow sledging accidents
Difficult evacuation incidents
New Years Celebration incidents
Injured hill walkers, climbers & mountain bikers
The team also played a central role in a night time search to locate a missing helicopter on the local moorlands. Tragically the three persons onboard were killed in this crash.