A team member with the rescued dog. Photo: Aberdyfi SRT

A team member with the rescued dog. Photo: Aberdyfi SRT

The rescue of a dog trapped in a disused mineshaft was one of three callouts for a Welsh team on Saturday.

Fire and rescue service crews requested the help of Aberdyfi Search and Rescue Team about 1.30pm to extricate the animal from old lead-mine workings at Dylife, south of Machynlleth.

Team member Graham O’Hanlon who attended the rescue said: “The rescue of animals is not strictly within the scope of the team’s operation and, for some animals, not within the capability of the equipment we use.

“Each request is assessed on its own merits, and volunteers are made fully aware of the individual situation. In this case, the need for a technical rope system to access the old mineshaft provided an excellent training opportunity, and the dangerous steps that the owners had already taken to access the dog themselves, and would continue to do so, meant that there was a significant risk to human life if we declined to help.

“Everyone from the team who was present has also got a dog at home,” he added.

As the rescuers gathered at the site, they were alerted to another incident on Cadair Idris where a walker had injured a leg.

A team spokesperson said: “The dog-rescue party was pared down to the minimum required to operate the system with the help of the fire crew already on scene, while one team vehicle and other volunteers still en route were diverted to Minffordd.

“At Dylife, the lowering and raising system was rigged without issue, and a team volunteer was lowered over the crumbling silty lip of the shaft to reach the dog on a ledge a few metres down, and above a much bigger drop.

“The dog, very pleased to see the red jacket, co-operated beautifully, and was quickly loaded into a bag for transport upwards. Both rescuer and dog were a little dirtier for their troubles, and while the dog was passed back to its owners, the rescuer was hosed down courtesy of the fire and rescue service crew.”

On Cadair Idris, a women who had travelled from London for a cancelled wild swimming event on the Mawddach Estuary decided to swim in Tal-y-llyn Lake at the foot of Cadair Idris, followed by a dip in Llyn Cau, midway up the mountain.

The spokesperson said: “Unfortunately, the guidebook focused much on the lake and not so much on the terrain setting, and they were underprepared for the mountain environment in poor weather.

“The swim in Llyn Cau went well, though was described as ‘very cold’, but shortly after leaving the water the woman went over on her ankle, and could no longer load-bear on it.

“Cold from the swim, and underprepared for a long wait in poor weather, there was also the risk of hypothermia setting in. Unable to get a phone signal at the incident site, the woman’s friend was forced to move further down the mountain to raise the alarm.”

A small party of team volunteers found her and assessed and stabilised her injuries. She was placed in a group shelter and given additional clothing to rewarm, but it was evident that she would be unable to walk off the mountain.

The team made enquiries about the availability of the Caernarfon Coastguard helicopter while preparing for a difficult stretcher carry down the Minffordd steps.

The injured walker is placed in the Coastguard helicopter. Photo: Aberdyfi SRT

The injured walker is placed in the Coastguard helicopter. Photo: Aberdyfi SRT

The spokesperson said: “As a number of Aberdyfi volunteers were still in transit from the dog rescue, a request for support was placed with the neighbouring team, South Snowdonia Search & Rescue.

“This ability to draw on skilled personnel, trained to a similar level and using similar equipment, in order to back-fill any under-resourced incidents makes for a highly robust and effective service, and is one of the great strengths of mountain rescue in England and Wales.

“Fortunately R936 was available and able to fly in under the cloudbase and land close to the casualty. After a short stretcher carry, the woman was loaded aboard and flown to Ysbyty Gwynedd for further assessment and treatment.”

Earlier in the day, the Aberdyfi team was called out to an injured motorcyclist taking part in a guided off-road event on a hill track near Happy Valley, Tywyn who had come off his machine.

An ambulance crew requested the team’s help shortly before 10.30am.

The Aberdyfi SRT spokesperson said: “Although the crash was at slow speed, the man landed badly and injured his shoulder.

“A team volunteer who lives locally was quickly on scene and made his way up the track on foot to meet the group, shortly followed by paramedics from a Welsh Ambulance Service crew.

“Other team volunteers made their way to the scene with equipment as the man was being assessed, and after the provision for pain relief he was able to walk assisted down to a waiting team vehicle and then to the ambulance for hospital transfer.”

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