Mountain rescuers at the scene of the emergency landing. Photo: Woodhead MRT

Mountain rescuers at the scene of the emergency landing. Photo: Woodhead MRT

Three occupants of a helicopter had to be rescued from the Peak District moors after they made an unexpected touchdown on their way to a rugby match.

Two mountain rescue teams went to the aid of the pilot and his two passengers when they made an unscheduled landing yesterday on the hills above the Woodhead Pass.

Woodhead Mountain Rescue Team was called out at 3.30pm and enlisted help from neighbouring Glossop MRT.

A Woodhead MRT spokesperson said: “The three businessmen travelling to Huddersfield to watch the rugby league match between Huddersfield Giants and Widnes had to be rescued by the mountain rescue teams as their helicopter had to make an emergency landing on the remote moors of the northern Peak District, high above the Woodhead Pass.

“The pilot of the helicopter, a Robinson R66, was forced to make the emergency landing when the visibility became so unexpectedly poor it was no longer safe to continue.

“Given the exact location of the downed helicopter was unknown combined with the poor weather conditions it was soon decided to call for assistance from Glossop MRT.

“On arrival at the rendezvous point rescuers were able to make contact with the pilot of the helicopter via mobile phone and gained further information regarding their potential location.

Rescuers at the landing site above Woodhead Pass. Photo: Woodhead MRT

Rescuers at the landing site above Woodhead Pass. Photo: Woodhead MRT

“Rescuers then utilised a smartphone app specifically for mountain rescue teams, Sarloc to pinpoint their exact location. The Sarloc app utilises mobile phone technology to ping exact location data between two smartphones back to the initiator.

“Once the exact location was known, rescuers were at the helicopter’s location in 40 minutes.

“Thankfully the pilot and his two passengers were found safe and well, albeit cold. The rescuers provided warm dry clothing for the men and walked them off the hill to safety.

Woodhead MRT team leader Keith Wakeley said: “It was an unusual callout for us. Thankfully we don’t get called out to downed aircraft very often. The poor visibility was a real issue today but thankfully we were able to use our own technology to locate the helicopter quickly.

“As you can imagine the men weren’t dressed for a cold wet day on the hills and it was important we got to them as quickly as possible. Thankfully they did the right thing and stayed at their location until help arrived.”

After having recovering at Woodhead MRT’s base the three men were taken to their hotel by team members where they dried off and prepared for the big match.

The rescue involved 24 volunteers from both Woodhead and Glossop Mountain Rescue Teams.

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