In case of emergency, dial 112 or 999 and ask for the Police

Callouts 2017

Sunday, 15 October 2017 21:27

Trio tackle River Dart in an inflatable

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Trio tackle River Dart in an inflatable

CALLOUT 28 / 2017 - 16:30  15TH OCTOBER 2017

At 4:30 this evening (or just as I was about to carve the slow-cooked shoulder of lamb I'd been cooking since 1 o'clock to put it another way). We had a call from Devon and Cornwall Police in relation to an overdue trio of river users n the River Dart.  A lady had reported that her husband and 2 children were overdue after she had dropped them off at Dartmeet to paddle the river with limited safety equipment and an inflatable kayak, and she was waiting for them at Newbridge and they had failed to turn up.

The stretch of the River Dart from Dartmeet to Holne Bridge is arguably the most famous whitewater kayaking river in England.  The Upper Dart is harder, grade III, and on occasions, Grade IV, with the middle 'The Loop' section between Newbridge and Holne Bridge, mostly grade II with a few well-known grade III sections. Hence it should be respected and only attempted by those with the experience to match the conditions with tha appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE).

Our team of volunteers train frequently in the valley as it has various access and evacuation challenges due to its steep and wooded sides, and next to no mobile phone coverage meaning it can be difficult for walkers or kayakers in difficulty to raise the alarm if there is an incident.

Given the potential seriousness of the situation and the difficulties in access, the full team was called the team out immediately once called by the Police for assistance with the incidence.

A Police spokesperson said 'Numerous Police units from across the South Hams, Teignbridge and North Devon were dispatched to assist, along with a National Police Air Service (NPAS) helicopter, to work along side the volunteers from Dartmoor Serach and rescue Ashburton'

Fortunately, the family turned up safe and well at Newbridge after the kayak was punctured on rocks en route and they had to negotiate the remaining distance on foot. 

Our team duty search manager said. ' We are very pleased that this family has turned up safe and well. Hopefully they have learned a valuable lesson about learning more about the stretch of river they are planning to tackle and will be better prepared and more cautious in future.'

'When participating in any activity which could pose a risk, please ensure you are prepared properly by understanding the challenge you are undertaking and have the correct equipment, the recommended safety kit and an emergency backup plan just in case something goes wrong.'

'At this time of year the nights draw in quickly and having the means to signal rescuers in the dark along with spare warm clothing, 'just in case' can make a huge difference should you be delayed due to kit failure or injury.'

We were pleased to be notified by Police that the missing party had arrived safe but behind their schedule. Alls well that ends well.

As ever thanks to our families, and supporters who continue to support the team and the work we do.

And although the slow-cooked lamb shoulder was tepid, it was still absolutely delicious.




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