A Casualty’s Story.............

The following is a true story about a walker  and his family who desperately needed the help of the Wasdale Team in the early 90's.   It accurately describes the event of that day and was written by Roger Green himself.  Roger raised a tremendous amount of money for the team through his business contacts around the world.  His rescue was also made into one of the early '999' rescues as produced by the BBC.  

                                    Richard Warren - Secretary WMRT, 1 May 2000     

Firstly, before this story is recounted, I would like to thank all the people that played a part in saving my life as follows:- 

The doctor and surgeon, the Duke of Edinburgh Award scouts, one fell runner, ten of the most professional Mountain Rescue Team members a casualty is likely to meet, a crack helicopter crew of three doctors and a pilot  (who were already on full alert for a practice), the nurses and doctors of both West Cumberland and Basildon Hospitals and, of course, my wife Jenny, whose calm and cool head gave me strength.


The day started like this: 

As a business man, although on holiday, I was waiting by the telephone for confirmation of a particular business transaction that I had been working on.  Jenny [Rogers's wife], quite rightly, insisted that I should forget business and enjoy a day's walk with her and the children up Scafell Pike, taking the Corridor Route.  As the weather was good, I agreed.  It was about 75 F, with the sun shining.  All four of us carried back-packs and set off from Seathwaite at around 10 am in glorious weather. 

Halfway up Scafell we all took our boots off and dangled our feet into a lovely cold pool; it was tremendously refreshing.  After 10-15 minutes we continued our walk.  Thirty minutes later we came across Sty Head Tarn and I stripped down to my shorts and swam in the wonderfully cool water.  After my swim Jenny handed me and apple and as I bit into it and laid back on the grass, I really did say to myself, "The best things in life are free."  Fifteen minutes later Jenny decided we should press on. 

We reached the rise just above the Tarn when Jenny looked at her map and decided we were going the wrong way.  My heart sank along with the children's as the worst thing that could happen would be to get lost.  Jenny, in control as always, jogged two or three hundred yards to a party of four people who were also looking at their map.  Typically, they were temporarily lost as well, but after some debate we got our bearings, said our good-byes and continued our walk.  We reached a part of the walk where there is a 50 foot high, 45 degree angle of loose rock we had to negotiate in order to get onto the Corridor Route.  Although not actively dangerous, there were some tricky moments.


Finally we all scrambled up and started our ascent proper.  Time now was around 12 noon.  About 10 minutes later we come to a most breathtaking place; the panorama below was a picture too good to miss.  I told Jenny and the children to stay there while I climbed further up with the camera in order to take a picture of the family with this fabulous back-drop.  I started the climb, and about 30 or 40 feet above the ledge where the family was standing there was a massive boulder, seemingly part of the mountain, which I thought would be an ideal place to hang  onto while I captured this poignant memory of our walk.  At least that's what I thought...


Using my left arm I held onto the top of the boulder and with my right leg I was able to push my ankle into the underside of the rock so that it acted as a wedge to hold me in place while I took the picture.  I clicked the first one and was just about to take another when the boulder started to move.


Obviously, at this stage things got a bit confusing.  I remember thinking, should I jump or should I hang on?  Probably with hindsight there was no choice.  Anyway, I do remember flying through the air and the next moment, absolutely terrified, landing on the ledge where the family had recently been standing.  My immediate thought was, "Well, that was lucky".  I rubbed my hands all over my body checking myself out.  Then I looked down at my leg, crushed where the boulder had landed and then rolled on.  Astonishment, horror would be the only way I can describe the way I felt.  My leg was at 45 degrees, bones and tissue were just seemingly scattered and blood was gushing from my body like a tap under pressure.


I remember, funnily enough, picking up my leg, attempting to straighten the ankle and pushing the bones back into place in my leg as if pretending that nothing had happened and that like a 'naughty school-boy' I would not be found out.  I experienced the most extraordinary sensation because I was feeling my leg and being a very fit man I thought I would feel something that was solid, instead it was like putting your hand in a bowl of jelly that hasn't quite set.


Jenny rushed up to me and attempted to hold by leg together in order to stem the blood flow.  During the entire ordeal, Jenny remained in control and was my strength.


As far as I was concerned I was a dead man.  I felt and could see my life's blood draining away but, surprisingly, could feel no pain.  My two children ran away in fear and I became very concerned for their safety.  I told Jenny to look after them and hauled myself into the side of the rocks and prepared to die.  I told Jenny that I was dying and that we were in a hopeless situation with no chance for my survival.  I remember looking up into the sky which was clear blue and thinking, "what a stupid place to die."


Jenny kept her head and shouted continuously for help.  Within 5 or 10 minutes two men appeared below the crag and reached us within seconds.  They spoke to me saying not to worry as they were both doctors.  My immediate reaction was one of relief: I now knew I had a chance.  They took control of the situation and I began to fight for my life.  Pain of the most gigantic proportions gripped by whole body.  The two doctors were carrying bandages, painkillers and were well-prepared for almost all eventualities.  To say I was lucky at this stage would have been an understatement. 


Some 10 to 15 minutes later, three more lads appeared on the scene.  (I subsequently learned that they were all Duke of Edinburgh Award scouts.)  They were absolutely brilliant, a tower of strength.  I held on to two of them, with my arms wrapped around their necks while the doctors were massaging my shattered leg.  I know I must have hurt their necks as I held them in a vice-like grip under excruciating pain.


The third scout didn't hesitate and started the run down the mountain to Seathwaite in order to get help.   This was most definitely my lucky day, for the next person to appear on the scene was a fell runner.  He immediately started to run in the opposite direction to the scout, towards Wasdale Head.


For any one of these miracles to have happened would be too much to expect, especially in such a remote place (approximately 2500 feet up a mountain).  I am a very lucky man.


The pain now was indescribable, but the long wait had to be endured.  The doctors took it in turn to work on my leg.  The scouts suffered my tantrums.  Time seemed to hang: it felt like an eternity. 


After maybe 2 hours, Jenny spotted helicopters and waved, thinking this must be help.  I was feeling very drowsy.  Unfortunately the helicopters carried on, flying past.  Then I looked down and I could see about 10 or 15 people rushing up the side of the rocks.  Relief and pleasure combined to make me euphoric.  They said nothing to me, but asked the doctors a few questions.  Morphine and gas-and-air were then administered.  The pain was still as sharp, but by then I knew I was going to live.




The Team leader, Bill Pattison, radioed for help.  Time again escapes me.  Shortly afterwards a yellow Sea King helicopter appeared in the distance.  The helicopter hovered over us, lowering the winchman and two crew members down.  The doctors stepped back and allowed the Mountain Rescue Team and the RAF crew to take over.


I discovered later that on board the helicopter was the Chief Medical Officer, one winchman and a trainee, who just happened to be in the area on manoeuvres when they received Bill Pattison's emergency call.  Lucky again!


Once again I was given morphine and my leg was placed in a fibre-glass casing.  They then lifted me onto a body bag, and to save time, only one winchman took me up into the helicopter whilst the other two remained on the mountain.  The helicopter flew directly to West Cumberland Hospital where doctors and nurses were already waiting on the helicopter pad for my arrival.  Everyone at the West Cumberland Hospital was fantastic.  


My leg was so badly smashed I thought it was beyond repair, but not only did they save my life, they saved my leg as well. 


Roger Green

Roger's wife Jenny wrote her own account of the rescue which you can read by following the link

             Jenny's Letter............       

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Page updated 3 May 2000