A little before 10am on Sunday morning both the Glen Of Imaal Red Cross Mountain Rescue Team and the Dublin Wicklow Mountain Rescue Team were tasked by the Galway Mountain Rescue Team to assist them with an ongoing search for a missing walker in the Twelve Bens in Connemara.
The man who had injured his ankle and had become lost had made a call for help to the Galway team on Saturday about 8pm. Despite their best efforts and overnight searching in awful conditions they were unable to locate the man and tasked other teams around the country for help with the search.
The Aer Corps prepared to fly a team west for a more immediate response and a total of nine MR personnel took off from Baldonnel. The weather prevented landing near Rescue Base at Ben Lettery Hostel but the Coastguard dispatched vehicles to pick up the crew in what had become a nationwide multi-agency response.
Other MR teams were also sending personnel to help with the operation including Kerry, Donegal, Sligo-Leitrim, Mayo and SARDA Mountain Rescue Teams to help save a life on the west coast.
Shortly after the team arrived they received the great news that the man had been found and while he was currently being assisted down the mountain a stretcher party would be required to complete the task. The large backup group proceeded up the hill and soon rendezvoused with the other rescue teams and the joint force then stretchered the hardy hiker down to safety and a waiting ambulance which was ready to transport him to ongoing care.
It was a massive collaborative effort with at least eight MR Teams, the Coastguard, the Aer Corps, Gardai and the HSE involved and it was especially good that this particular story had a happy ending. Thanks must also go to Ballynahinch Castle for providing some much needed sustenance to the rescue teams before they had to head into the long drive home.
Well done to Galway MRT on a really well run operation and we were glad to be of assistance.