Belfast Telegraph

Duke of Edinburgh Award teen facing op after hill rescue

By Claire Williamson

A 15-year-old Duke of Edinburgh Award participant has to undergo surgery after being rescued from the snow-covered top of Trostan mountain in Co Antrim.

The dramatic rescue involved the North West Mountain Rescue Team (NWMRT) and the PSNI helicopter.

Late on Wednesday afternoon, Maydown PSNI was alerted that a member of a Duke of Edinburgh Award group had injured their leg and was unable to continue.

NWMRT was then tasked to make its way to the location to offer assistance and 19 members responded.

The group leaders were contacted initially by phone and it was established that a 15-year-old boy had a suspected broken right ankle.

The group were safe, with the boy and two leaders sheltered in a green tent on the summit.

The rest of the group were advised to come down off the hill because of lying snow and strong winds.

Then the team drove to a location as close as possible to the summit and made their way up the hill, on foot and carrying a stretcher and casualty care equipment.

After a long climb the boy was located and was given immediate first aid, including splinting and padding.

As night was approaching and the conditions - with lying snow and freezing winds - would have made a carry-down by stretcher both long and difficult, it was decided that evacuation by helicopter would be the safest, quickest and best method.

The PSNI was contacted and their helicopter was dispatched to the area.

Once it landed on the summit, NWMRT carried the boy in the stretcher over 500 metres of steep, snow-covered ground to load him on to the helicopter.

Initially the stretcher was intended to transport him to a waiting ambulance, but the crew agreed to fly him direct to Antrim Area Hospital, while NWMRT made the long trek back down the hill.

It has since emerged that the young boy suffered two breaks on his tibia and one on his fibula which will require surgery at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast today.

A spokeswoman for the NWMRT said: "Once again, it was a great example of inter-agency co-operation to ensure a successful conclusion to what was a difficult, painful and possibly life-threatening situation."

Belfast Telegraph

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