At 12:06 on 18 June 2016, the Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team (NNPMRT) and North Of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team (NOTMRT) were requested by the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) to attend an incident at Hareshaw Linn Waterfall near Bellingham.
A lady had been walking her dogs when she slipped near the edge of a 6 metre waterfall located at the bottom of a steep wooded ravine. The casualty and her dogs all fell the full height of the waterfall landing in the river below on rocks, sustaining serious injuries.
The family of the casualty managed to find a safe route to the bottom of the waterfall and administered excellent first aid. Once the emergency services had arrived, the family took the injured dogs to the vets.
The Bellingham Community first responder attended to the casualty before being joined by the Doctor led team of the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNASS).
The NEAS Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) also assisted to stabilise the casualty.
The Mountain Rescue Teams set up and operated a technical rescue system; hauling the stretcher up a vertical rock face adjacent to the main waterfall by using ropes and pulleys to gain a mechanical advantage. This required rescuers to work within the confines of the upstream river with extremely slipy rocks underfoot. Once at the top of the waterfall, it was hoped that the Coastguard helicopter from Prestwick would have been able to winch the stretcher onboard. This was not possible and the stretcher was carried up the steep wooded slope out of the ravine and to the top of a nearby open field where both helicopters had landed. The casualty was taken to the RVI in Newcastle by GNAAS.
The incident demonstrated a fantastic multi-agency team effort and involved 12 Mountain Rescue volunteers for 3 hours and 20 minutes.
On 15 June 2016, the Mountain Rescue Teams were activated twice; at 04:46 and at 22:50.
At 04:46 on 15 June 2016, Northumbria Police requested assistance in the search for a high risk missing male from the Westerhope area of Newcastle. The missing person was located by Police during the phone call from the Police requesting Mountain Rescue assistance.
At 22:50 on 15 June 2016, Northumbria Police contacted Mountain Rescue for an overdue walker in the College Valley. The walker in his 60s had left the Mounthooly Bunkhouse late morning to walk along the Border Ridge to Windy Gyle and back. When it became dark, the owner of the Bunkhouse became increasingly concerned for the lone walker’s welfare and, quite rightly, phoned the police. The walker returned to the Bunkhouse during the phone call from the Police requesting Mountain Rescue assistance.
Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team (NNPMRT) and North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team (NOTMRT) provide a search and rescue service in the Northumbria Police area. The operational area covers 2,159 square miles and includes the whole of Northumberland and the conurbation of Tyne & Wear. Both MRTs operate jointly on a callout, as a single body.
Calls for assistance include not only search and mountain rescue of walkers, fell/trail runners and mountain bikers in the wild and remote parts of Northumberland but also the search and rescue of missing children and vulnerable adults in rural and urban settings.
All members are volunteers and have a shared interest in providing a vital life-saving service.
Members continuously train in all the core skill areas (hill craft and navigation, search, communications, first aid and casualty care, technical rescue, etc.) and are equipped to enable them to operate effectively in all types of terrain and in all seasons.
Both MRTs are solely reliant on voluntary donations and grants from charitable trusts. The funds generated cover the costs of: training; maintenance, replacement or upgrading of equipment and vehicles; general running costs including fuel; and, insurances. Fundraising is as continuous as training.
Mountain rescue team members are on call, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.