Snowdonia climbers too 'lightly equipped' say rescuers

Infrared camera footage of the rescue courtesy of the RAF

Mountain rescuers have criticised some walkers for being poorly equipped after an RAF helicopter airlifted a boy stuck on a cliff ledge in Snowdonia.

The seven-year-old was with a group of people from Manchester on Cader Idris who had split into two, with each group assuming the boy was with the other.

He was airlifted to safety along with four other members of the group during the operation on Monday night.

Among the others rescued was a 70-year-old diabetic man who had fallen ill.

'Confusing scene'

Aberdyfi Search and Rescue Team (ASART) said the child was stuck on a grass ledge on the steep Cyfrwy crag face after the group he was with divided.

Start Quote

The party were lightly equipped and had no provision for a long stay on the mountain or for the rapidly encroaching darkness”

End Quote Aberdyfi search and rescue team spokesperson

"The child was part of a larger group from Manchester, who had fragmented into two parties during their time on the mountain, and each assumed the child was with the others," said a rescue team spokesperson.

"The party were lightly equipped and had no provision for a long stay on the mountain or for the rapidly encroaching darkness."

As volunteers from the rescue team assembled, an advance party was dispatched to assess the situation and met "a very confusing scene of separate groups of party members and onlookers spread out on the mountainside".

"The child had been identified as being stuck on a grass ledge a third of the way down the very steep Cyfrwy crag face, and the rescuers were able to give a grid-reference to the inbound Rescue 122 Sea King helicopter from RAF Valley," added the spokesperson.

Others rescued

"The very steep nature of his location meant that a helicopter rescue may not have been possible, so other ASART volunteers started making their way up the hill carrying the heavy crag-rescue equipment."

An RAF crew member described the rescue as "tricky" because the helicopter's rotor blades were close to the steep rock face.

Meanwhile a 70-year-old diabetic man with the group had no water or food to manage his condition and had started to feel ill.

A third person had an injured knee.

After airlifting the child - who was uninjured - to a car park at the foot of the mountain, the pilot returned to the base of the cliff to pick up another four members of the party, including the diabetic pensioner.

A paraglider from Cardiff, stuck on the summit in darkness, was also rescued.

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