Wasdale Show Day

Broken Ankle underneath Pike's Crag

Saturday 14th October 2006

6/48: 14/10/06 ( 11.00 a.m. ) - Saturday

'999' call made to the police from a male walker in his 30's who had slipped on the Scafell Pike traverse path and broken his left ankle.  He and his two fellow male walkers were on a camping expedition.  From Dumfries, they had walked up from Seathwaite, up the Corridor route to Lingmel Col, then along the traverse path.  Their location was directly below Pikes Crag. Fortunately, four team members were at the Wasdale Head Show when the pager went off which meant that an advance group were with the casualty quickly. Analgesia was administered and his leg placed in an inflatable splint.  He was strapped into the Bell stretcher for evacuation off the fell, but due to his size (tall and very well built) and the relatively small number of team members on the rescue (fourteen), a call was put through to RAF Boulmer who scrambled Sea King 131.  On scene within 50 minutes, they winched him and the Team Doctor from the location and flew to West Cumberland Hospital.  Incident was closed at 3.30 p.m.   

The following photos, some of which were provided by the casualty (marked *) have been reproduced here with his full permission:

The casualty, 24 hours earlier on the summit of Great Gable*

Casualty just about to receive analgaesia*

Casualty just after his injection *  - he certainly retained his good sense of humour throughout

Casualty safe and warm in the casualty bag, analgesia given and inflatable splint on waiting for the back up party and stretcher to arrive - bivvy tent just about to go on.

Scafell Crags and Mickledore ridge in the background - casualty party now in the bivvy tent.  Although a sunny and very hot day in the valley bottom, there was a very cold north-easterly wind at the casualty site.

Casualty on the stretcher ready to be moved into position for the helicopter evacuation

Team effort required to carefully move the casualty 50 metres across the broken ground

Orange smoke gives the approaching aircraft an indication of wind direction and strength

Rescue 131 arrives from RAF Boulmer on the north-east coast - 50 minutes flying time

Approaching the winching position from downwind - ideally needs to be facing into the wind to maintain lift

Team doctor goes on board first

How close can the helicopters tail rotor get to the crags, and the face of the photographer who is laid flat?  Worryingly close.  The tail rotor at this point is only 20 foot above the ground but it is certainly not a time to stand up and move.

Casualty and winchman now safely off the ground, on their way to West Cumberland Hospital, landing within 5 -10 minute.

Postscript to rescue - the callout came whilst the team were setting up their display at the Wasdale Show.  Fortunately there was a stand being manned by Great North Air Ambulance who work very well with the Lake District teams on rescuing injured walkers. When the team had to disappear on the rescue the two ladies manning the stand offered to look after the equipment and boards we abandoned on the showfield.  They also ensured that our books were sold and money collected.  Our thanks go to these two ladies who are a real asset to GNAA fundraising and helped us out.  We therefore took a couple of snapshots before we packed up at 5.00 p.m. - If Graham Pickering, CEO GNAA has the opportunity to read this postscript then we congratulate him on his team - first class.

The Great North, 'Pride of Cumbria' fundraising team with Great Gable in the background 

The two Richard's with the two ladies who helped look after the team on the day - thank you

p.s. The day was also the inaugural flight of GNAA's brand new Air Ambulance which is much larger, can accept a casualty on a stretcher from the side of the aircraft without having to switch off the rotors and can carry a crew of six.  


Well on the way to a full recovery - back home in Dumfries



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