Rescuers make their way to the brothers through a blizzard

Rescuers make their way to the brothers through a blizzard

Mountain rescuers battled night-time blizzards to rescue two brothers who got into difficulties attempting the ascent of south Wales’s highest mountain.

The pair set off to walk to the summit of Pen y Fan on Saturday, but as the weather worsened, one of the men suffered an injury and they called 999.

Members of Brecon, Central Beacons and Longtown Mountain Rescue Teams were alerted about 3.15pm. The brothers told police they were stranded 600m (2,000ft) up on the Brecon Beacons above the village of Llanfrynach, south-east of Brecon.

Dave Coombs, deputy team leader of Brecon MRT, said: “Due to the weather conditions the Wales Air Ambulance and the RAF search and rescue helicopters were unable to fly.

“This meant the rescue would have to be carried out by mountain rescue personnel.”

The 16 rescuers set off in worsening conditions to find the walkers. As they climbed rain turned to snow and visibility dropped to less than 40m. It soon became clear that the walkers had misjudged their position, so team coordinators used smartphone software to locate them.

The rescue took place while the Welsh national rugby team was beating England in a crucial Six Nations tournament game.

Mr Coombs said: “We located them just as we heard the half time score from the Millennium Stadium.

“The two walkers were sheltering in a tent. One was uninjured but his companion was injured following a fall and was suffering from hypothermia.

The rescue scene

The rescue scene

“Our team doctor checked over the injured man and they were both put onto stretchers to carry them off the mountain.

“We had to walk through a blizzard and carried them through peat hags, where the ground is very uneven and the snow would go from ankle deep to waist deep.

“We decided not to use the path because it was on the edge of a precipice and because of the poor visibility and high winds we ran a very real risk of going over the edge.

By 10pm weather conditions improved enough to allow the RAF rescue helicopter from RMB Chivenor in Devon to fly to the scene and winch the casualty and his brother aboard.

The two men were flown to Prince Charles Hospital, in Merthyr Tydfil for treatment.

Mountain rescue team members then had to get off the hill to the safety of their vehicles.

Mr Coombs added: “The rescue took 10½ hours, though most of that time the rescue teams were battling through poor conditions to reach the casualty, treat him, evacuate him and then get off the hills themselves.

“The weather conditions were atrocious on the mountain tops and this proved to be a particularly challenging rescue.

“The walkers perhaps underestimated their walk in the conditions we had on Saturday. But their actions once in difficulty, by putting up their tent and calling us, undoubtedly prevented the outcome from being more far more serious.

“The rescue team members, who are all volunteers, are prepared to go out in all weathers, even during the rugby. But these conditions were some of the most challenging encountered this winter.”

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