October 14, 2022
October 13, 2022 19:00 hrs
Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team was alerted shortly after 19:00 on Wednesday 12/10/2022 by Cumbria Police to a report of two walkers in their mid-70s who were overdue. The pair were part of a walking group from the North East on a day trip to the Lake District and had failed to return to their coach. They were reported as experienced and well equipped and other walking parties from the same group were able to confirm that they had last been seen at about 13:30 at Nick Head heading towards Sticks Pass. The pair had also left a route plan with the trip organisers.
A search was initiated involving 12 members of Patterdale MRT, aiming to send parties along their intended route over the Helvellyn massif and the escape routes off the ridge to the East. Support was requested from the Lake District search dogs and two handlers were deployed to search the high corries to the side of the ridge. In addition Keswick MRT were mobilised to search the routes down the West side of the mountain. Both missing persons were reported as carrying a mobile phone; these appeared to receive text messages, but calls went directly to voice mail.
As the search progressed the cloud cleared from the mountain and the Team requested a Coast Guard Helicopter to over fly the area with night vision and infra-red search equipment.
At about 23:00 two members of Patterdale MRT discovered the casualties close to the path just south of Whiteside Top. Both casualties were exhausted and significantly hypothermic with one of them confused and disoriented. The Patterdale Team members were joined by one of the dog handlers and members of Keswick team, and between them they got the pair into a shelter and survival bags, applied heat packs, and provided additional clothing, food and drinks. The requested helicopter was reassigned to collect the pair, one of whom was stretchered to the aircraft, and they were both flown to Cumbria Infirmary, Carlise.
Patterdale MRT would like to thank Keswick MRT, Lake Distict Search Dogs and the crew of Rescue 139 for their assistance with this successful search and rescue operation. The pair might well not have survived the night, but they undoubtedly helped themselves by leaving a clear plan of their intended route.
As the nights draw in, the weather worsens and the clocks go back, Patterdale MRT would like to remind parties to be well prepared for all conditions. Please visit www.adventuresmart.uk to plan your next adventure.