An RAF Sea King from RMB Chivenor helped in the rescues

An RAF Sea King from RMB Chivenor helped in the rescues

A group of 23 Duke of Edinburgh’s Award participants was among more than 30 walkers rescued in atrocious weather in the Brecon Beacons over the weekend.

Three mountain rescue teams were joined by Search and Rescue Dogs Association members in three separate incidents in the Black Mountain.

The first call came on Saturday at 3.45pm when six people were reported missing above Llyn y Fan Fach, near Llanddeusant, Carmarthenshire.

Western Beacons Mountain Search & Rescue Team members were called out along with Brecon and Central Beacons Mountain Rescue Teams.

The three teams joined Sarda dog handlers in high winds, driving rain and poor visibility to search for the missing party.

Nick Hardwidge, from Western Beacons MSRT said: “The RAF 169 search and rescue helicopter, from RMB Chivenor, joined the search and in a joint effort the walkers were found and airlifted to safety.

“It was such a remote location that we then had a two-hour walk to the nearest road where we could be picked up.”

The following day, Western Beacons MSRT and Brecon MRT were alerted by Dyfed Powys Police to a large number of walkers were lost in the Carmarthen Fans, somewhere above the Dan Yr Ogof caves.

Mr Hardwidge said: “A party of 23 Duke of Edinburgh’s Award students were lost.

“We were able to pinpoint their location by Sarloc, a system devised by Russ Hore, a former member of Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue [Association].

“We sent teams to reach them and the party was located on the Beacons Way and brought down to Dan Yr Ogof for assessment.

“They were very cold and wet and we warmed them up in the control vehicles, although one was taken to hospital as a precaution.

“But almost immediately we received another report that four people were just below the Fan Hir ridge line and that one was unconscious and another was showing signs of reduced consciousness.”

Western and Brecon were joined by Central Beacons MRT and the Sea King helicopter from RMB Chivenor again flew to the area, but conditions were so bad the aircraft was unable to make a safe approach.

Rescue teams reached the lost walkers and two of the party were walked off the hill, while their two companions were warmed and then carried down the mountain on stretchers by team members to the waiting control vehicles and ambulances.

Mr Hardwidge said: “This weekend has shown once again the effort that mountain rescue volunteers put in to the search and rescue operations.

“In atrocious conditions, the teams deployed again and again to go to the assistance of walkers in danger of being overcome by the conditions.

“The two operations on Sunday lasted about nine to 10 hours in total.

“It was a testament to their training that the teams from Central, Brecon, Western and Sarda South Wales combined seamlessly to provide a search and rescue service in testing conditions, which provided once again a happy and successful outcome.

“Our thanks to the crew of RAF 169 who showed incredible flying skills, in terrible conditions on both Saturday and Sunday; to Dan Yr Ogof showcaves for providing hot drinks and chocolate and, finally, to Dyfed Powys Police who supplied sausage and chips to some very tired rescuers at the end of Sunday’s rescue.”

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