27 December 2023

As Storm Gerrit continued to bring strong winds and heavy rain to Northumberland, the second of two requests for stranded vehicles was received. Northumberland Fire & Rescue Service (NFRS) had received a call from a family whose vehicle had gone off the road and they were stuck down a bank on mud and snow. Given their location, which was initially believed to be the eastern end of the Kielder Forest Drive, and the prevailing weather conditions, NFRS activated Mountain Rescue.

North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team and ourselves immediately deployed three 4×4 response vehicles to assist the Fire Service. A Mountain Rescue controller also deployed direct to the scene in their 4×4 vehicle.

As resources were travelling, a PhoneFind location was fixed which placed the family nearly 18km away in the forest to the north west of Kielder village. Soon after it was also confirmed that there was no vehicle at the eastern end of the Forest Drive. At this point all the Mountain Rescue response vehicles were redirected to Kielder.

Shortly after arriving in Kielder, a NFRS fire appliance followed by a Mountain Rescue response vehicle accessed the family’s location, some 4km into the forest along a muddy and snow covered track. With the family safely on board the fire appliance, they were transported out of the forest and an end to their ordeal.

The incident also involved the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service and the North East Ambulance Service.

The incident involved 9 Team members for 3 hours 25 minutes.