Team members had to make their way to the scene on foot. Photo: NNPMRT

Team members had to make their way to the scene on foot. Photo: NNPMRT

Mountain rescuers in Northumberland used vehicles, skis and their leg power to reach a patient in a remote farm who needed medical attention.

The operation on Thursday evening lasted seven hours and ended up with a Coastguard helicopter being called to airlift the casualty to hospital.

Ambulance staff requested the help of volunteers from Northumberland National Park and North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Teams to reach the patient in a part of Upper Coquetdale made inaccessible by deep snow drifts.

A spokesperson for the Northumberland national park team said the teams swiftly deployed and team vehicles reached as far as they could, driving through snow to a point where they were unable to progress any further. The mountain rescuers then travelled on foot and skis through deep snow to finally reach the farm. “Conditions were extremely difficult with the temperature dropping below -12C,” the spokesperson said.

“On arrival, the patient was quickly assessed by a mountain rescue team medic and, given the seriousness of the situation, the decision was made to request a helicopter from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. Team members arrived on scene to assist with a stretcher carry-out to the helicopter. Additional members were ready to help carry out the patient if required.

The Coastguard helicopter at the rescue scene. Photo: NNPMRT

The Coastguard helicopter at the rescue scene. Photo: NNPMRT

“It was a great relief to all concerned when, thanks to superb flying, Rescue 199 from Prestwick was able to land, despite the difficult location and conditions.”

Team leader Iain Nixon said: “Conditions were incredibly challenging in the national park and this is a good example of how crucial the role of mountain rescue teams is during extreme weather events.

“Thanks to some brilliant inter-agency teamwork, we were able to deliver the best outcome for the patient. We’d like to thank the paramedics from North East Ambulance Service and helicopter crew from HMCG Prestwick.”

“We would also like to remind the public that there is a huge amount of snow in the national park and then if anyone requires help from mountain rescue, a callout in these conditions would take many hours.”

Upper Coquetdale lies in the western part of the Northumberland National Park, leading towards the Scottish border in the Cheviot Hills.

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