The woman is winched into the Coastguard helicopter in Cwm Idwal. Photo: John Carrie

The woman is winched into the Coastguard helicopter in Cwm Idwal. Photo: John Carrie

North Wales’s new civilian search and rescue helicopter was called into service on the first day of its operations.

The Caernarfon-based Bristow-operated helicopter flew to the rescue of an injured walker on the Ogwen Valley mountains yesterday.

The Coastguard-controlled Sikorsky S-92 had taken over duties from the familiar yellow Sea Kings of RAF Valley at midnight. It was called out to aid Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue Organisation after a young woman injured her leg in Cwm Idwal.

The winchman from the helicopter was with the woman within minutes of the emergency call.

Chris Lloyd of the Ogwen Valley team said its members were called out about 6.10pm and the helicopter crew was alerted at the same time to aid the 18-year-old woman.

He said: “She along with her boyfriend and another couple in their early 20s had come up to Snowdonia for a couple days of hillwalking. They were meant to be returning to south-west England that evening.

“The four had walked up Y Garn, one of the Welsh 3,000ft peaks in Snowdonia. They had descended beneath the Devil’s Kitchen and were making their way down the footpath to the Idwal Slabs.

“At the difficult step, where the path crosses the Idwal Stream in a little gorge, the casualty slipped on greasy rock and damaged her ankle. Despite a good attempt to continue, she was in too much pain.

“Members of OVMRO arrived shortly after the winchman. Entonox was administered and the casualty’s ankle was supported in a splint.

“Additional members of OVMRO arrived in case the helicopter could not winch from the casualty site. However, they were not required. The S92 returned to the casualty site and quickly winched the girl aboard and whisked her down to hospital at Bangor.”

Mr Lloyd said a couple who had stayed with the group and the remaining three from the woman’s party walked down with team members. The incident concluded shortly after 8pm.

He said: “This was an unfortunate slip and subsequent injury after a good walk on the hills. But if there is a consolation, it is the first rescue in Snowdonia with Bristow’s S92 helicopter.”

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