Facebook helps save unwell walker on Cader Idris

At around 5:30 p.m. on Tues 16th July a woman posted on Facebook that she had found a man on Cader Idris with no food and in a dehydrated state and that she needed help. The post was spotted by one of the woman's friends who alerted North Wales Police, who in turn contacted Aberdyfi Search & Rescue Team call-handlers.

Initial inquiries and strategies did not provide any further information about the location, and attempts to contact the informant’s phone repeatedly would not connect. With little information to work with, it was decided to send a hasty party of Team volunteers up the Minffordd path and also the Pony Path; the mountain was reasonably busy so it was hoped that these parties would either encounter the casualty or speak to someone who had seen where they were.

As volunteers were making their way to the foot of the mountain, North Wales Police were informed that the woman and her partner had managed to walk the man down to the Minffordd car park where she had managed to find a phone signal. The hasty-parties were stood down, but a small number of volunteers continued to Minffordd to assess the casualty and arrange further help if required.

As Team volunteers spoke with the casualty, a man in his 40’s and from the Caerphilly area, a confused picture emerged; it seemed that the man had travelled to the area with a friend by bus, and had camped on the mountain the previous night. He had last seen his friend near the summit shortly after 9:00 a.m. and for some reason the pair had gone in different directions shortly afterwards. The man could not supply contact details for his friend, although did provide a home address for his parents in Caerphilly.

Given the time elapsed since the two went their separate ways, it was unclear whether the second man was still on the mountain. Team volunteers checked likely routes that the man might be walking into town, and North Wales and Gwent Police forces made enquiries based on home address information. Shortly after 9:00 p.m. the Police were able to contact a relative and confirm that the second man was safe and at his home address.

Team volunteer Graham O’Hanlon was one of the incident coordinators. “The real heroes of this rescue were the initial informant and partner who took care of the man and got him safely off the mountain. The phone signal is very patchy in places and the woman made several attempts to call 999 which all failed, but for whatever reason her post to Facebook connected. It is not a conventional way to contact the emergency services, nor one that we would encourage moving forwards, but it was all she could access at the time. It is sad that she has received a degree of criticism on social media for her resourceful actions, but we are grateful that she had a friend who took her seriously and brought this to our attention.”

Everyone was heading homewards by 9:20 p.m.