Last night the team were called-out by Devon & Cornwall Police to assist in the search for a missing 32-year-old male in the North Hill area south of Launceston. Further police checks were required before the team could be tasked and once these were completed the team were tasked to cover high-probability areas. Just 15 minutes later the missing male was located by police resources and the team were stood-down before kettles had even been boiled.
The team’s busy week continued, with the fifth call-out coming just 26 minutes after the last! With some of the team heading to Minions to assist with the cas-evac, controllers in the west of the county were alerted to a missing person whose vehicle had been located at Tehidy Woods. As details were being taken and a plan formed the missing person was located walking along the coast road away from the woods, so the team were stood down. With these two call-outs resolved, team members were free to revert to the standard Thursday evening’s training plans.
The team were requested to assist with a rescue of an injured walker on Stowe’s Hill near Cheesewring quarry. They had slipped near to the tor and were in a great deal of pain. Fortunately there were several team members nearby just finishing a navigation training day and they were able to offer primary care and transport the paramedics to the scene.
Due to the difficult location of the fall and quite serous multiple injuries, further team members were called to form a stretcher party. Along with paramedics, eleven team members stabilised the casualty and evacuated them to a waiting HM Coastguard helicopter from Newquay, which flew the casualty direct to Derriford hospital.
Many thanks to the passing walkers and the climbers in the quarry who also offered their assistance.
The busy long weekend continued and after three days on eastern Bodmin Moor search dog training, members were back out in the same area this afternoon. After the car of a missing despondent female was found in the car park at Minions, the team were called to search a large area of the surrounding moor. Much of this is difficult terrain to search effectively, so we were also joined by four SARDA search dog teams from Cornwall and Devon. With so many shafts in this iconic mining landscape, we also deployed the team’s mine rescue section who searched two large shafts near Cheesewring Quarry.
Working closely with Devon & Cornwall Police, their GP dog teams also covered a wide area around the car parks and the whole area was overflown by an NPAS helicopter and a Coastguard AW139 from Portland, Dorset.
As foot teams were covering remaining areas of the moor and dog teams were redeploying into high-priority areas, the missing female made herself known to authorities. Team members were immediately on scene and were able to assess her condition before offering her a lift back to Minions in a team Land Rover where she was checked over by an Ambulance crew. In total 26 team members were on the ground for eight hours in what was a very drawn-out and wide-ranging search, but one with a happy conclusion.
This weekend was a busy one for teams across the region; more so as we were also hosting SARDA dog teams from across the country on the annual Bodmin Moor training weekend. The weather had deteriorated quite badly on Saturday, with strong winds and low cloud across the moor making conditions very inhospitable.
Mid-afternoon we were tasked to go to the assistance of two competitors in a challenge event who’d been out on the moor since 5am, becoming disorientated on Brown Willy and succumbing to the weather. But as team members already of the moor dog-training were discussing options, the walkers had been located by their support team and evacuated by 4×4, so once again the team were stood down en route.
Just one day apart at the weekend, the two photos below show the same view from the ridge-line at Kilmar Tor, highlighting the fickle nature of the Cornish weather!
After one of the quietest periods the team has ever seen, we were alerted by Devon & Cornwall Police in the early hours of Friday morning to a male and small child missing on their way back to St Ives Holiday Park after a night out. As a search plan was being formulated and an RV location identified, the missing family were located safe and well and team members were stood down.
Members of our Mine Rescue Team were called out at the request of Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service to provide advice on a rather problematic technical rescue. Not exactly our usual call-out, but a Belted Galloway cow had managed to get into a mine adit and become wedged, being stuck for a week before the alarm was raised.
The cow was wedged 20ft inside the low adit and couldn’t reverse out without bending its legs, with its back end rubbed raw where it had been trying to back into the adit roof for a week. With some struggle the cow’s rear legs were bent such that it could be pushed under the low roof, and with a rope attached to its legs it could be pulled and pushed backwards and downwards through the confined space. It was hot and with little air, but the efforts of several firefighters and a local farmer the cow could be slid backwards and out of the adit, with team members keeping its head out of water and off the rocks. Once out, a further joint effort saw the stricken beast dragged onto the farmer’s trailer for further assessment.
Early evening the team were alerted to a mother and daughter (and their three dogs) lost on the western edge of Bodmin Moor. With a rapidly fading phone battery they’d managed to contact the police and send a video of their location earlier in the day. The video appeared to show they were somewhere near Louden Hill, southwest of Rough Tor.
The poor weather (strong wind and driving mizzle) meant they were likely to be very wet and very cold, so the full-team were called-out. The first two team members were on scene within 45 minutes and able to deploy straight out onto the moor as a hasty foot team. Another 45 minutes later and the pair were located near Logan Rocks; after seeing torches in the driving mizzle, their shouts for help guided the team members in. Both were very cold and wet and it was important to insulate them quickly and get them off the moor. The hasty team were able to walk them off to a waiting Land Rover, which ran them back to the Rough Tor car park.
After a check over from a team medic they were thoroughly warmed up (including one very cold and wet whippet) and were then able to make their way home without further assistance. We can’t emphasise enough how important it is to respect the moor and its fickle changes in weather, with torch, map and compass being the bare minimum before venturing out.
Following on from last night’s search in Idless Woods, the team reconvened this morning to be retasked into high-priority areas of woodland and valley bottom, this time in daylight. This allowed us to cover much larger areas of ground and once again two foot teams battled brambles and brash throughout the morning.
Early in the afternoon the missing 42-year-old woman was located by a police dog team over 1km from the core search area. Suffering from the effects of a cold night, a team vehicle deployed to provide rewarming equipment and primary medical care. The female was then evacuated to a waiting ambulance and onward to hospital, where we hope she will make a full recovery.
Having only just returned vehicles and kit following a mini-exercise with Devoran Scouts, team members locking the gate were alerted to a missing person in the Idless area. As a search plan was being formulated, still-warm vehicles were deployed and team members converged on Idless Woods. This is a really difficult area to search, with a maze of tracks and paths running through waist-high brambles and brash. Hard enough in daylight but even more taxing in darkness!
Two foot teams and a SARDA search dog team covered numerous areas up to 500m from the car park, finally standing down for the night at 2:45am.
Following on from yesterday’s extensive search around Cubert, the team took advantage of a planned training evening to deploy larger numbers of members to continue the search. In total, 30 team members deployed from all four team vehicles to re-cover some high-priority areas and also to widen the search closer to Cubert itself. Large areas of open ground, field systems and woodland were searched until 10pm, when members returned home to families.
Following extensive overnight searches by HM Coastguard and the NPAS police helicopter, the team joined the search for a missing male from the Cubert area. Last seen early afternoon of the previous day, the team were tasked to search inland areas between Cubert and the coast path while Coastguard teams once again covered the shoreline, aided by both RNLI lifeboats from Newquay and also Rescue 924 helicopter.
In typical Cornish mizzle, 15 team members searched extensive areas around Cubert Common throughout the day, joined by a SARDA search dog team later in the afternoon. In total three foot teams were deployed for nine-and-a-half hours, made possible by the kind donation of lunchtime hot food by the Bowgie Inn, to whom we’re extremely grateful. Once these high priority areas were covered and we were losing light, the team stood-down for the night.
Press coverage of the search can be found here.
One of our SARDA dog teams was called to support Exmoor Search & Rescue Team search for a missing male, after his van was located near Chulmleigh. During the afternoon search teams from Devon & Cornwall Police and DSFRS were in attendance, along with North Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team, Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team – Tavistock and Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team – Ashburton. At around 11pm he was located cold but safe at a farm near Chulmleigh. At the height of the search there were over 60 members of the voluntary search and rescue teams actively searching. A truly amazing effort. A great example of a multi agency working.
During regular team training in the evening we were made aware of a developing situation in Truro, with a 44-year-old male missing from Treliske hospital. As further facts came to light, the team were called to search areas of open ground and woodland around the hospital. As three foot teams and a search dog team were about to deploy, further intelligence indicated the missing male had been sighted in Portreath. Once field areas were searched by the NPAS helicopter and woodland areas by a police dog team, we deployed a single air-scenting dog team to further clear the woodland between Illogan and Portreath. As the team worked down through the difficult terrain the missing male returned home and the team stood down just after 1am.
One of our SARDA dog teams along with an extra team member to act as a navigator were sent to assist Exmoor SRT with a search for the occupant of a vehicle following a road traffic collision. They had been seen wandering in to flooded farmland and there was a concern for their welfare.
As the team were getting close, they were stood down after the police located the driver through local enquiries.