Lug Rescue(12/2/11)

Yesterday, Saturday the 12th February 2011, a group of four people set out to walk up Lugnaquillia.  The day started as a very clear and beautiful day, but later on deteriorated, and by the time they reached the summit plateau, the cloud had enveloped them.  Unsure of their descent route they veered into an area of very rough and steep terrain, and while hurrying to reach the road before darkness fell, one of their party stumbled into a deep hole and damaged her ankle.
The Glen of Imaal Red Cross Mountain Rescue Team and the Dublin & Wicklow Mountain Rescue Team were both alerted to the emergency situation at 6.15pm.  Rescue Team Leaders immediately began work on a rescue plan which involved locating the missing party and deciding on the best method of extracting them once found.
Attempts were made by the Irish Coastguard helicopter to reach the scene, but they experienced icing, rain and low cloud levels and had to return to base.  The only option was then to stretcher-carry the injured party out to the nearest road and awaiting ambulance.
Over thirty Mountain Rescue team members attended the callout, most in search parties trying to make contact with the lost group.  The four walkers were located at 9.00pm.  The three able-bodied hill-walkers were assisted out on foot, while the fourth was carried on stretcher a distance of perhaps 2.5 km.  The terrain was treacherous in places and required skill and patience, and much credit is due to those members who assisted in this aspect of the operation.  At one stage a fallen tree had to be removed from the trail using a chainsaw.
The portugese lady was finally returned to the valley floor and the awaiting ambulance at 1.00am on Sunday 13th February.  The weather was very wet and windy throughout, and we are happy to say that all team members and parties came off the hill by 3am without any further incidents.
Many thanks to all those who participated in this difficult operation – Dublin & Wicklow Mountain Rescue Team members, Glen of Imaal Red Cross Mountain Rescue Team members, Irish Coastguard, Wicklow’s Ambulance Service, local farmers and foresters, and notably the Glenmalure Lodge who provided tea and sandwiches for all the wet and weary rescuers.