A competitor in the Montane Spine Race collapsed on a relatively exposed section of the Pennine Way, north of Bellingham late on Friday night. A request for Mountain Rescue was made through Northumbria Police by the race organisers.
North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team and ourselves swiftly deployed response vehicles and members to the nearest access point, approximately 1.25 km to the south of the casualty. A hasty team was deployed onto the hill with vital medical kit and a winter weight casualty bag to stabilise the situation, while other members followed with a stretcher and wheel. Our Mountain Rescue Paramedics and a North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) Community Paramedic from Rothbury worked alongside the Spine Race Safety Team to ensure the competitor received the best care possible.
With the conditions underfoot being difficult due to heavily iced sections of the route into the casualty site, three options were available for the evacuation. A HM Coastguard helicopter which was initially requested, the NEAS Hazardous Area Response Team’s Polaris vehicle or as a last resort a stretcher carry.
Thankfully the NEAS Polaris was able to access the location and the casualty was packaged on a stretcher and then transferred to the all terrain vehicle for transportation off the hill. This saved our volunteers a difficult and risky stretcher carry off the hill. It also meant the helicopter could be stood down before leaving the ground. By 01.10hrs the competitor was safely off the hill and the Teams could be stood down.
The incident was a great example of multiagency working leading to a successful outcome for all concerned. We wish the competitor well and hope they return next year to complete the final sections of the race.
The incident involved 20 Team members for 4 hours.