Beds, Herts & Bucks

Brecon Beacons St Albans pupils 'were not missing', head says

A Coastguard rescue helicopter Image copyright Athena
Image caption A coastguard rescue helicopter was called to assist the search

A group of 26 school children rescued from the Brecon Beacons mountains were never lost or missing, their head teacher has said.

The children, from Hertfordshire, were reported lost near Abercraf at about 13:00 on Wednesday.

After a major rescue operation all were brought to safety.

St Albans School head Jonathan Gillespie thanked rescuers but said the alarm was raised when two of the party began to feel unwell.

Three mountain rescue teams, police, a coastguard helicopter and the ambulance service were involved in the search for the school children reportedly lost in low cloud around Llyn y Fan Fach, near Abercraf.

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Forty-seven pupils aged 15 and 16, were divided into groups on the second day of a three-day silver Duke of Edinburgh award expedition when two of them began to feel unwell, Mr Gillespie said.

Image copyright Athena
Image caption Police and ambulance staff took part in the search as well as rescue teams

They were part of a small group of seven who correctly followed their training procedures and called for help, he said.

School staff were able to give rescuers a grid location for the group, who were found and led down the mountain.

Image caption St Albans School head master Jonathan Gillespie said he was grateful to the emergency services for their help

Three other groups were later located and rescuers confirmed all 26 children were safe. They were taken to a hospital to be checked as a precaution.

The pupils' attempts to make their own way down the mountain had been hampered by heavy rain, strong winds and a negligible mobile phone signal, emergency services said.

Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption Mountain rescue specialists from four areas went to the assistance of the groups

Mr Gillespie said: "I'm very proud of my staff and pupils and how they responded to it, and grateful to the emergency services."

He added: "At no stage have any of them been unaccounted for or missing."

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