Mr Longfellow's body was found on the East Face of Tryfan

Mr Longfellow's body was found on the East Face of Tryfan

Rescuers have revealed how they found the body of an experienced walker who had fallen on a Snowdonia mountain.

Stephen Longfellow was spotted by the crew of a Coastguard search and rescue helicopter on Tryfan on Friday and members of Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue Organisation.

The 64-year-old retired teacher from Leeds had fallen some distance on the mountain, a rescue team spokesman said.

Mr Longfellow was reported missing after failing to return from a walking trip to Snowdonia. He had told other walkers he was considering tackling either Tryfan or the Snowdon Horseshoe.

Chris Lloyd of Ogwen Valley MRO said: “OVMRO was called out at about 12.30pm to search for a missing man who was believed to be on Tryfan.

“Initially, that was about all the information that was made available. OVMRO deployed six members to walk the usual routes: North Ridge, Heather Terrace and the Western Gully. A Search and Rescue Dogs Association dog and handler were deployed too.

“The MCA rescue helicopter was at Oggie Base having brought staff for a liaison meeting between Bristow and mountain rescue personnel. Initially, the helicopter was unable to deploy to search as the cloud level was at Heather Terrace. However, later in the afternoon, the cloud lifted and Bristow’s S-92 helicopter with two OVMRO team leaders on board assisted the search of the mountain.

“The casualty was spotted on the East Face. It appears that he had fallen some distance while trying to find the descent path onto Heather Terrace. The casualty was winched aboard and flown to hospital in Bangor where he was declared dead.

“This appears to be a really unfortunate accident as this man was a very experienced hillwalker.”

The Ogwen Valley team was called out a further three times on Friday and twice on Saturday.

Mr Lloyd said: “Later that evening, at 6.30, the team was called again to assist a couple from Manchester. They had been climbing on the Idwal Slabs in poor weather. They had climbed up onto Holly Tree Wall but were unable to escape. Team members, assisted by members of RAF Valley MRT, climbed up to the couple. Using ropes, they rescued the couple and walked them down to safety.

“And even later in the evening at 10.20 the team was called out to search and rescue a couple from Southampton. They had made a navigational error when descending the North Ridge of Tryfan in dense drizzle and found the Milestone Buttress between them and the A5 road.

“They were able to shine a light down towards the A5 to assist rescuers to locate them.

“Team members found them shortly after midnight and assisted them off the mountain.”

On Saturday morning the OVMRO raft race took place on Llyn Ogwen. “Sadly, due to the previous day’s activities, only two crews attended,” Mr Lloyd said.

At 4pm the team was called by a man from Leeds who became cragfast whilst attempting a descent from Glyder Fawr.

Mr Lloyd said: “Having carefully followed a route over the Glyder range as described in a Trail magazine article, he made a navigational error by descending adjacent the Upper Cliff rather than to Llyn y Cwn.

“After descending this steep and loose ground, he realised his error and also realised that he was beyond the point of no return. He telephoned for help. Being a steep and dangerous area, it was decided to request for aircraft assistance. As team members were making their way into Cwm Idwal, Bristow’s helicopter was able to fly in and successfully winch the man aboard and fly him to the sanctuary of Oggi Base.

“He was pleased to be back on terra firma.”

A short time later, calls were received by Ogwen Valley MRO of reports of shouts for help and a separate request for help. “Initially, it was unknown as to whether this was one or two incidents as neither knew where the incident was,” Mr Lloyd said. “After some detective work, it looked like the North Ridge of Tryfan. Here, an American couple, working and living in the UK, were descending the ridge.

“Although descending the ‘marked’ footpath, the lady lost confidence on a difficult rock step.

“They shouted for help and attracted the attention of a large group of United States Air Force personnel who were descending the North Ridge. They went to assist but once they knew that the MRT was en route with ropes, they stood to one side.

“The woman was put in a harness and a rope attached. She was then able to down climb the small crag. With the aid of a confidence rope, she completed the descent and was reunited with her husband on the footpath. They came to Oggi Base for a cup of tea and cake.”

The rescue ended about 8pm.

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