Northern Ireland

Mourne Mountains: Father and son rescued after 13 hour ordeal

Mourne mountains

A father and his teenage son have been rescued after going missing for 13 hours in the Mourne Mountains.

The pair had been camping on Sunday but when they failed to return at about 16:00 BST on Monday, their family raised the alarm.

A search operation, involving the Mourne Mountain rescue team and the coastguard, got under way.

The rescue team said Monday's bad weather had taken the pair by surprise and "caught them out".

Martin McMullan from Mourne Mountain rescue team said they had been very relieved when they were found, but "exhausted and suffering from mild hypothermia".

"We'd quite a bit of work to do, just to ascertain where they had set out from, where they intended to go, where they intended to camp," he said.

"We then had to deploy what are very limited resources at night time, in very poor conditions to try and find two people."

Mr McMullan said they were "fit, able individuals" but the weather had taken its toll.

"Fortunately, they had good equipment with them and fortunately they had done everything that they should have done," he continued.

"When they realised they weren't going to make it out, rather than take further risk, they put their tent back up again, they got back in and they sat tight and waited for help to arrive."

Lawrence Cumming from the Belfast coastguard said the Mourne Mountain rescue team had asked them for helicopter assistance.

"Navigation in the Mournes is particularly difficult if you are not fully equipped with the navigation equipment needed to do that, or the experienced hill walker," he said.

"Weather conditions yesterday, particularly early morning were atrocious.

"It would have presented quite a few difficulties for people who were not entirely with navigation on mountains. This spell of bad weather has come upon us after a reasonable summer so people may have been caught unawares."

South Down MP Margaret Ritchie praised the work of the rescuers.

"I want to acknowledge the diligence and work of the Mourne Mountain rescue team who were instrumental in finding the pair and ensuring a safe rescue from the mountain side" she said.