The rescue took place on the path next to Falcon Crag, near Grisedale Tarn

The rescue took place on the path next to Falcon Crag, near Grisedale Tarn

A mountain rescue team member was injured after being blown over by high winds during the rescue of a group of teenagers in the Lake District.

Mike Blakey, Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team leader, said walkers should consider changing their routes in the light of severe weather forecasts.

One rescue helicopter had to turn back when winds became too severe yesterday, but an RAF search and rescue crew managed to reach the site near Grisedale Tarn using exceptional flying skills, Mr Blakey said.

He added the incident was probably avoidable if the group had heeded weather forecasts.

The volunteer rescue team was called out about 2pm yesterday after reports that a 16-year-old girl was unconscious on the fells.

She was a member of a group of six teenagers tackling a four-day expedition, which passed through upper Grisedale.

Mike Blakey said: “The police received a 999 call shortly before 1pm from a passing walker who came across the group of teenagers.

“We were unable to call the informant back to get an update on the casualty’s condition or location because the original call had been received as a roaming emergency call.”

Although the mobile phone network allows 999 calls to be routed via any available provider, it does not allow the call to be reversed back to the caller if it is not from their own network.

Mr Blakey said: “The team had just finished training in worsening weather conditions when the call came through for assistance.

“Given the nature of the incident we immediately requested assistance from the Great North Air Ambulance.

“However the winds were too strong for the helicopter and it was forced to turn back. We therefore requested assistance from the Air Rescue Coordination Centre, in Kinloss, and a Sea King helicopter from RAF Valley in Anglesey was mobilised.

“Given the nature of the incident we called for the assistance of Penrith Mountain Rescue Team and five members of the Royal Air Force Mountain Rescue Service who made their way on foot with Patterdale Team members to the scene of the incident.

“An hour after the initial call the first rescue team members arrived on scene and assessed the girl. 50 minutes later Rescue 122 airlifted the girl and another from the group who was mildly hypothermic.

“Both were flown directly to hospital in Barrow-in-Furness and were discharged later in the evening.

“The helicopter was operating at its limit in the extremely strong gusting winds and the aircrew demonstrated their exceptional skill in assisting with the rapid evacuation of the girls.

“During the rescue several team members described extremely strong gusts of wind which physically picked them up and threw them to the ground.

“One Patterdale team member suffered chest injuries. A second teenager from the original group was blown over and suffered minor head injuries. Both were assessed by the team’s doctor.

“While the rescue teams were descending to the valley they came across a second organised group of six teenage girls and leader who requested our assistance. All 10 teenagers were taken back to our rescue base and given dry clothing, warm drinks and blankets.

“Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team cannot stress enough the importance of checking weather forecasts before venturing into the mountains.

“Routes should be amended based on the information available and conditions on the ground. In this instance the weather forecasts had been clear about the strength of the wind and the heavy rain forecast and so this incident, and subsequent injuries to team members may well have been avoidable.

“We would like to thank Penrith Mountain Rescue Team, the Royal Air Force and the Great North Air Ambulance.”

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