Helicopter rescue after woman falls on icy Pentland Hills

By Angie Brown
BBC Scotland, Edinburgh and East reporter

Image source, Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue Team

A woman is recovering with a broken ankle following a dramatic rescue from the Pentland Hills on the outskirts of Edinburgh.

More than 35 mountain rescue and firefighters battled snow and icy conditions to help the woman who fell on Caerketton Hill at 14:00 on Tuesday.

It took three hours in minus 10C to get the woman off the 1,568ft (478m) hill.

A helicopter was called when rescue teams worked out it would take too long to use a stretcher and rope rescue.

The accident happened on the top of the steep hill, which houses Midlothian Ski Centre.

Dave Wright, Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue team leader, told BBC Scotland the conditions made the rescue difficult.

He said: "The casualty was well equipped for the walk she had planned. It was just an unfortunate slip on the top of the hill as the paths are very icy just now. In those conditions it is difficult for anyone to stay warm once they have stopped moving."

He said the wind chill made it minus 10C.

Image source, Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue Team

A tent was pitched over the woman while dozens of rescuers travelled from as far as the Scottish Borders and West Lothian to the scene.

Paramedics gave her painkillers on the hill side while stretchers of kit to keep her warm was dragged up the hill.

Mr Wright said: "To lower the casualty down from that height on a stretcher would have involved a technical rig and lowering it for 50m before derigging and doing the process again and again. It would have taken too long.

"We practice for this type of line rescue all the time but what would have made it difficult was the icy conditions."

Image source, Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue Team

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