"It was a very urgent rescue and time was of the essence,"

“It was a very urgent rescue and time was of the essence,”

On May 5th, a woman in her 50’s was out hiking with friends on Sligo’s iconic Ben Bulben when she fell into a disused mine shaft and plunged 10 meters into waist high icy water.  She was unharmed but trapped and unable to swim.  She clung on to the side of the mine shaft whilst her friends called 999 for help.

After receiving the emergency call, Irish Red Cross’ Sligo Leitrim Mountain Rescue team members quickly scrambled and headed to the scene.  With the assistance of two local farmers using quads, team personnel and gear were taken up the steep and precarious track high above the Annacoona cliffs.

Due to the urgency of the call additional members of the team were airlifted by the Coastguard helicopter, “It was a very urgent rescue and time was of the essence“, said Mountain Rescue team leader Conal Sexton.

On arrival at the mines, the team ascertained that the woman had now been temporarily secured on a ledge by another member of the walking group who had managed to climb down into the shaft. The Mountain Rescue team secured the area, and three members set up a rope belay system, quickly reaching the walkers in the mine shaft.

Using a harness the team the hauled the woman to the surface where she was further medically examined, and found to be uninjured, but suffering from hypothermia. The casualty was immediately transferred to Sligo General Hospital by helicopter.

The Irish Red Cross Sligo Leitrim Mountain Rescue team is entirely staffed by volunteers

The Irish Red Cross Sligo Leitrim Mountain Rescue team is entirely staffed by volunteers

The Irish Red Cross Sligo Leitrim Mountain Rescue team is entirely volunteer staffed, providing a professional standard of mountain rescue to across Sligo and Leitrim.  The volunteers are specially trained and on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

May 13th – 19th is National Volunteer Week 2013, to celebrate the Irish Red Cross is sharing real life experiences from volunteers around the country and encouraging more people to get involved with their local Red Cross.

For more information about how you can get involved with the Irish Red Cross in your community, see www.redcross.ie/get-involved or call 01 642 4600.