The two walkers were found on Ill Crag in the Scafell Pike range

The two walkers were found on Ill Crag in the Scafell Pike range

A rescue helicopter crew had to push themselves to the limit to airlift two walkers from a Lakeland fell after a nine-hour search involving 40 volunteer mountain rescuers from three teams.

Yesterday’s operation was the second nine-hour night-time rescue in four days for Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team on the Scafell Pike range.

The team’s chair Richard Warren said both incidents were avoidable.

The two walkers were found in the early hours of Monday morning in the most remote area of the Wasdale team’s operating area.

Cumbria Constabulary alerted Wasdale MRT at 9pm last night after the pair rang for help when they got lost while coming down from the 978m (3,209ft) summit of Scafell Pike.

Mr Warren said: “They were very cold and wet and were unable to give the team much information to narrow down the search area.

“With the assistance of Duddon and Furness and Keswick teams and Lake District Mountain Rescue Search Dogs, the whole of the Scafell massif was searched.

“At around 2 o’clock this morning, in challenging and very wet conditions, the pair were found near Calf Cove Gill, under Ill Crag.

“Their location was probably the furthest point from a roadhead within the team’s operational area.

“After being warmed and given dry clothing the casualties were evacuated by a Sea King from RAF Boulmer that was attending to assist the search.

“It should be noted that the RAF pushed themselves to the limits in very poor weather conditions in order to evacuate the lost walkers off the mountain and back to safety.”

On Thursday, the Wasdale team spent nine hours overnight searching for seven walkers who also got lost while descending Scafell Pike.

Five were eventually found on steep ground on the neighbouring mountain Scafell, and two others were discovered walking into Upper Eskdale.

Mr Warren said: “Both of these rescues were avoidable with proper preparation and planning and taking map, compass torches and knowing how to use them.”

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