Major three day Search in the Lakes – Lucky Walker

The Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team was called out by Cumbria Police at 7.00 p.m. on Sunday evening 14th January to search for an overdue male walker. He had set off to climb Scafell Pike in poor weather conditions.

Three teams were mobilized to search the normal routes - Wasdale MRT, Keswick MRT and Duddon & Furness MRT. The search was called off in the early hours of Monday morning with worsening weather conditions which some team members described as bad as they’d experienced on Scafell Pike in a long time.

The search resumed at first light on the Monday and escalated to regional level involving five teams, two search dogs and a Coastguard rescue helicopter from Prestwick. Over 50 personnel spent the day searching the mountain's known problem locations but the missing person was not found. The search continued on the Tuesday (16th) with seven teams, 12 search dogs and the Coastguard helicopter from Caernarfon. In total around 70 to 80 rescuers.

The missing walker was found at 10.00 a.m. yesterday (16th), alert but very cold and suffering from suspected broken wrists. He was found by a Wasdale team member along with search dog handlers at Silverybield Crag three kilometers to the south of Scafell Pike in the upper reaches of Eskdale. His injuries happened during a fall on this third day on the hill.

It goes very much without saying that he was remarkably lucky to have survived the 48 hours on the mountain in the subzero temperatures (-4 degrees C during the day with severe wind chill) along with sleet and snow in gale force winds. Visibility was extremely poor during this period with low cloud. He kept himself warm, avoiding hypothermia by continuing to move. Following an initial medical assessment by the search team, he was airlifted to Furness General Hospital, in Barrow by the Coastguard helicopter.

All twelve Lake District Search And Mountain Rescue Association teams were involved in this extremely successful operation, either in the searches or providing back up for teams involved but away from their normal operational areas.

This supportive response to Wasdale MRT, which included teams and dog handlers from outside the county plus the RAF Leeming MRT was essential and greatly appreciated by the Wasdale team.

The team passes their best wishes to Richard for a speedy recovery and extend their thanks for the support provided by the neighbouring teams along with the help from the two Coastguard SAR helicopter stations and crews.