A search and rescue team spent 52 hours ‘on an unnecessary search’ for someone who rescued themselves.
Aberdyfi Search & Rescue Team volunteer Graham O’Hanlon is appealing for people to let them know if they no longer need help following the call out last Friday.
Mr O’Hanlon said “it is really important that, if you manage to sort yourselves out, that you let us know, no matter how embarrassing if feels to admit you had a wobble”.
The team went out at around 1.45pm on Friday, 15 July, when call-handlers from Aberdyfi Search & Rescue were made aware of a fragmented call for help received by the Welsh Ambulance Service Trust, passed on by North Wales Police.
The message said one or more people were “stuck on mountain” and “freezing” but the call disconnected before any further details could be gathered. All subsequent attempts to call the number back went straight to voice mail.
A recent development means there is a degree of location data associated with a 999 call, and as the caller had requested an ambulance rather than police or mountain rescue, there was also a nagging concern that someone was injured.
A team searched Abergynolwyn and down to Corris Uchaf, while a second party deployed on foot to sweep the adjacent ridge-line, and another volunteer swept the forest roads on the Pantperthog side of the ridge. A number of Duke of Edinburgh Award groups were encountered in the area but there was no further evidence that anyone was in difficulty.
With no further information to work with, the search teams withdrew shortly after 6pm. The hope was if someone was still in trouble, once they became overdue returning home, someone would raise the alarm with more information about vehicle and routes. Alternatively, if they had self-rescued, they would recharge or switch on their phone and respond to some of the many attempts at contact left by us and other agencies.
North Wales Police eventually discovered the caller was safe and well.
Mr O’Hanlon, who helped coordinate the rescue, said: “We are more than happy to turn out for anyone who feels they are in trouble, but it is really important that, if you manage to sort yourselves out, that you let us know, no matter how embarrassing if feels to admit you had a wobble. We spent around 52 man-hours on an unnecessary search, keeping volunteers away from their work, family and homes, and it would also have significantly affected our ability to respond to other call-outs had they arisen.”