Men Survive Lugnaquillia Ordeal(09/02/09)

Rescue party dropped off by heliThe Glen of Imaal Mountain Rescue Team were alerted by the Defence forces based in the Glen of Imaal to two men missing in the Lugnaquillia area at 21:00 yesterday evening (Monday, 09 February 2009).

With deteriorating weather conditions, the Glen team notified GardaĆ­ and neighbouring Dublin /Wicklow Mountain Rescue Team to the call and rapid response search parties were dispatched onto the mountain with high priority.

With the search area around Lugnaquillia being some of the toughest terrain in Leinster and weather conditions extremely poor due to low lying freezing fog, visibility was as low as 5 metres at times, finding the two men was made much more difficult.

Hypothermia and exposure were a serious threat to the men, whose survival depended on being found. As such, the Glen of Imaal Mountain Rescue Team and Dublin/Wicklow Mountain Rescue Team called all other Irish Mountain Rescue Teams and the Search and Rescue Dogs Association in to assist.

By morning, two Mountain Rescue teams from Wales (Ogwyn Valley and RAF) were also requested to join in the search. In all, roughly 60 Mountain Rescue personnel braved some of the most challenging navigational weather and terrain we ever see. Personnel waded through snow which was knee deep at times and expertly navigated in white out conditions.*

The two men were located at approximately 13:30 (Tuesday, 10 Feb. 09) and the priority switched from locating them, to getting medical and technical supplies into their location in order to safely remove them from the mountain.

They were treated at the scene for severe hypothermia and exposure by advanced paramedics and loaded onto stretchers at approximately 15:30 (Tuesday, 10 Feb. 09) The stretchers were carried for just over an hour until Mountain Rescue personnel got below the cloud base where the Helicopters could come in to assist.

Both men were airlifted to Tallaght hospital by 16:45 (Tuesday, 10 Feb. 09).

Mountain Rescue Teams in Wicklow wish to extend their thanks and gratitude to all involved in this rescue

*white out = where it is impossible or virtually impossible to tell land from sky, gradient of the terrain.