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Callouts 2017

Saturday, 12 August 2017 16:58

Lost walkers spark huge Dartmoor search.

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Lost walkers spark huge Dartmoor search.

CALLOUT 22/2017 - 08:02 12TH AUGUST 2017 

The team were called out this morning along with our colleagues at Plymouth, to continue a search operation that had been underway since yesterday evening involving the Dartmoor teams at Tavistock and Okehampton.

Two walkers who set off on Thursday for a camping trip from Burrator heading towards Okehampton via Postbridge, had reported being lost on the Northern part of Dartmoor. Two phone conversations with them indicated they were possibly in the Rough Tor / Cut Hill area and that they were wet and borderline hypothermic; however, no further communication had been possible after 9pm Fri night.

Team members returning from callout for missing walkers on Dartmoor

All four Dartmoor Rescue teams were involved in a 13hr search for two walkers on Fri 11th into Sat 12th Aug, in an area of approx. 150sq miles North of Postbridge.  Foot teams from Dartmoor SRT Tavistock and Okehampton, with resources from Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue were deployed from 9pm Fri evening, and stood down just before first light having covered high probability areas around the location where the two walkers reported being lost.  The search was then continued by Dartmoor SRT Ashburton and Plymouth teams, supported by helicopters from the Coastguard and Police, SW Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) members, and D&C Police.

Shortly after 9am Sat morning, a chance conversation with a farmer who came across a Plymouth team told them his wife had given a lift to 2 walkers into Tavistock that morning, and he was confident that it was the 2 we were looking for.  This was confirmed shortly after 10am when the Police were able to contact relatives to learn the walkers were being picked up from Plymouth bus station, both safe and well.

A DRG spokesperson said that “It would be very helpful if walkers who self-rescue, having raised the alarm, make sure they contact the emergency services at the first opportunity to let them know they are OK, so as to avoid unnecessary efforts being made to locate them.

The search which was conducted over 13hrs included the following volunteers, assets and personnel from the statutory agencies:

  • Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team – Ashburton (23 volunteers)
  • Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team – Okehampton (15 volunteers)
  • Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team – Plymouth (12 volunteers)
  • Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team – Tavistock (17 volunteers)
  • SW Ambulance Hazardous Area Response Team (7 personnel)
  • Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue USAR team (10 personnel)
  • Marine and Coastguard Agency Rescue 187 SAR Helicopter (+ 4 crew)
  • Devon & Cornwall Police NPAS Helicopter (+3 crew)
  • Devon & Cornwall Police (6 personnel)

We are glad of course to hear they survived their ordeal, which is due in no small part to being well prepared with the right clothing, food and shelter.  We trust that should they re-attempt their excursion in the future, additional consideration should be given to: a) leaving an intended route-card with family members, b) carrying a GPS device so as to pinpoint their location periodically, and c) establishing a check-in process to advise on progress or issues”.

The photos shows an Ashburton search team returning to Postbridge after the lost walkers had been located.

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