TWO campers have been criticised after a mountain rescuer suffered ‘life changing injuries’ in a fall while coming to their aid.
One of the campers – who had travelled from Liverpool and Leicester – suffered chest pains as they climbed Red Screes near Kirkstone Pass in the Lake District on Saturday.
A team of volunteers from Patterdale Mountain Rescue were mobilised but, while attempting to reach the stricken pair, one rescuer fell 150 metres.
The mountain team then had to redirect attention in dangerous conditions to their stricken colleague who sustained facial fractures and a serious spinal injury in the fall.
A HM Coastguard helicopter had to brought to the scene to evacuate the experienced mountaineer and long-serving member of the rescue team to hospital where he remains in a serious but stable condition.
Ambleside and Langdale Mountain Rescue teams were then drafted in to attend to the original casualty, guiding him and his friend to safety.
However, colleagues of the badly injured rescuer struggled to contain their frustration at repeatedly being called out to rescue people breaking lockdown rules and endangering themselves and others.
“The rescue team did not need to be out that night,” said Mike Blakey, Ops Lead for Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue.
“A medical emergency like that at home would have been dealt with at home by an ambulance crew not a rescue team which then turned into three rescue teams and a helicopter crew, so I’m absolutely clear that this was a completely avoidable rescue.
“There’s nothing in the regulations that say you can travel multiple miles and camp – you know local people are not doing that so why they were there I do not understand and I genuinely hope that they are reflecting really hard on the consequences of their decisions.”
Cumbria Police have already handed the campers fines of £200 each for breaking lockdown restrictions after travelling some 260 miles to camp. The man suffering chest pains is understood to have made a swift recovery.
Mr Blakey, who is also a member of the Patterdale team, praised the volunteers and HM Coastguard for their efforts.
“The support from the wider rescue community is absolutely amazing – it’s a tight family,” he added.
“Serious incidents involving mountain rescuers are few and far between so I think it stops everybody in their tracks.
“And we’re really thankful to the rescue helicopter that flew through some really atrocious conditions and the other teams that came to our aid.”
Anyone wishing to donate to Patterdale Mountain Rescue can do so here… Donate – Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team.
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