Not long after team members were back home from the safety cover on Brown Willy, we were called out on our first real job of 2019 after two aggressive dogs on leads were reported persistently barking at the top of a mine shaft near Porthtowan. There was sufficient reason to believe their owner of the dogs might have been missing, so the team were tasked to cover adjacent areas of the valley and also to investigate the shaft in question. As priority areas were covered and Police investigations continued it became apparent that these were most likely lost dogs, so resources were stood down.
It later transpired that the dogs had escaped from a local farm across the valley, but it’s always best to err on the side of caution.
During the morning the team were put on stand-by to assist the Police in the search for a missing male from the Redruth area. Initial enquiries indicated that he may have been heading towards Illogan, so a search plan was developed to cover high-priority areas in that direction. With the weather forecast to deteriorate through the day, 26 team members were deployed into five search teams, covering large areas of Illogan Woods and Nance Woods and tracks leading to them.
Foot teams searched for four hours in torrential rain and wind and were eventually stood-down having covered the thick woodland as thoroughly as possible. Enquiries are still continuing and our thoughts are with the family and friends of the young male.
Just after midnight the team were contacted to support Devon & Cornwall Police in the search for a missing 50 year old female in the Camborne area. Despite being missing from home in an urban area, initial searches had drawn a blank and as concerns grew for her safety the team were tasked to search local areas of parkland and open fields.
Just before 2am the lady was located by Police in an open field 2km from home and team medics were able respond quickly and provide a medical assessment. Once warmed up, there was still some concern for her welfare, so with an ambulance delayed, the lady was conveyed to Royal Cornwall Hospital (Treliske) in a team vehicle for further treatment.
For a team that is more often than not busy with search jobs, it’s been great for us to have forged a better working relationship with SWAST (South West Ambulance Service) recently. Our third casualty evacuation of the summer saw team members called to Ding Dong mine, on the moors above Penzance, to assist with a female suffering a painful knee injury. The first team member arrived just after the Cornwall Air Ambulance and by the time further kit and team members had arrived, the female had been given suitable pain relief and was ‘packaged’ for evacuation. The nature of the terrain required the use of the team’s Bell stretcher to carry her safely to the waiting aircraft, which conveyed her to better medical care. This was a great bit of joint-working and it’s always a pleasure to see the other emergency services in action.
During the early hours of the morning we were alerted to an ongoing investigation into a young male missing ‘near Penzance’. Having come from out of county, it wasn’t initially clear where he was missing from, but further Police investigations took us to an address near Ashton. Mid-week call-outs are never the best attended, but we did manage to deploy two foot teams to search large areas of fields and open ground in pretty dismal foggy, mizzly weather. With the cloud base too low to deploy any air assets, we also drafted in a SARDA trailing dog to give an indication of direction of travel away from the address.
Thankfully the young male got back in contact with a friend and we were able to locate him heading back to the address, disorientated and extremely cold. A team medic checked him over and started the rewarming process, as his temperature had dropped to 32 degrees, with moderate hypothermia set in. A short while later he had warmed significantly (and started shivering) and we were able to hand-over to an arriving ambulance crew.
Early evening team search managers were alerted to an ongoing search for a despondent male in the Hayle area. As further information came to light, high-priority search areas in the Hayle Towans were identified and the full-team were called-out, including several members attending cas-care training in the east of the county. As team members were arriving at the RV, the male was located wading into the sea by the Coastguard helicopter Rescue 924 and picked up by nearby police officers.
As part of an ongoing Police investigation, the Mines Section were requested to drop a shaft in the Lanner area, reported to be just 30-40 feet deep. Two team search managers were joined by five members of the Mines Section, rigging up a system to safely allow two members and an ‘edge-man’ to approach and drop the shaft, finding that it was actually 70m deep, dropping further into water to an unknown depth. Just one item was retrieved from the shaft, although further investigation found that this wasn’t related to the case in question.
Team search managers were contacted by Devon and Cornwall Police to discuss search options following reports of calls for help coming from a valley near Constantine. Immediate actions were discussed and it was decided that police dog teams should be initially used to search the most heavily-wooded areas in the vicinity of the shouts. The NPAS helicopter was also brought in to cover large areas of open ground. With wooded areas searched and no further reports of cries and no missing people in the local area, it was decided that there were no defined search areas for the team, so we were stood down. The origin of the original shouts was never clarified, so this remains a mystery.
Hot on the heels of yesterday’s rescue, the team were called out this evening to reports of a missing seven-year-old child near Newquay. Whilst holidaying with her family, the girl had walked off from the campsite and couldn’t be immediately located, so numerous resources were called in to search for her in the remaining daylight. Thankfully as team members were en route to the RV the little girl was located asleep in a tent elsewhere on the site so all resources were stood down.
For the second time this summer, the team were called called out by the police at the request of the ambulance service to carry out the evacuation of a casualty at Golitha Falls on the edge of Bodmin Moor. The female had broken her leg and was on difficult ground, requiring a very tricky and technical rescue. Team members were quickly on scene and rigged up a series of safety ropes to allow team members to pass a stretcher onto safer ground, from where she was carried back to the car park for onward transport to hospital.
A great bit of joint-working with Devon and Cornwall Police and South Western Ambulance Service Trust. The entire rescue took 11 members around two hours to complete.
Team search managers were contacted by Devon and Cornwall Police on 23rd to discuss likely search options with regards a 36-year-old male missing from the Playing Place area over the weekend. This developed into a complex and extended search and team members from both sections covered extensive areas of woodland, open ground and farmland over the following four days. In total 40 team members committed over 260 man-hours to the search, including time spent on roped access to potentially hazardous areas along the main A39.
Once all of the high- and medium-priority areas were searched as well as the terrain would allow, the team were stood down pending further enquiries by the Police.
Mid-afternoon today we were alerted to a potential call-out to assist SWAST (Southwest Ambulance Service) with a casualty at Golitha Falls. As team members were en route, further details were received that this was a female suffering cardiac issues well into the woods along the river at Golitha Falls.
Several team members were able to respond quickly with a bell stretcher and liaised with SWAST paramedics to evacuate the female along the woodland track. This was a long carry out in rather hot and humid weather, but once safely delivered to a waiting ambulance she was taken to Derriford Hospital for further observation and we wish her a speedy recovery.
Another late night call-out, with concern raised for an elderly gentleman with dementia missing along the coast path near St Ives. As a team search manager was discussing likely search areas with police, the missing male was located safe and well.
The team were called out at midnight to assist in the large-scale search for a missing female in the Looe area. With large areas needing to be covered, a further call was put out to our neighbouring teams in Devon. With support from DSRT-Plymouth and DSRT-Tavistock, numerous foot teams and a SARDA dog team were able to search large areas of woodland along the East Looe River overnight, standing down early morning.
Further team members from Cornwall and DSRT-Ashburton then took over the search in the morning, when further intelligence shifted the focus of the search to the west of the river. Thankfully the missing female was located mid-afternoon and all resources stood-down.