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Missing woman found on Cave Hill after three-day search operation

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The woman was found by police and the Community Rescue Service on Friday evening. McAuley Multimedia

The woman was found by police and the Community Rescue Service on Friday evening. McAuley Multimedia

The woman was found by police and the Community Rescue Service on Friday evening. McAuley Multimedia

A Belfast woman who went missing on Wednesday has been found alive in the Cave Hill area after an extensive three-day search operation.

The name of the woman has not been released, but it is understood to be 41-year-old Lisa Faulkner who went missing from the east Belfast area on January 29.

After being found Ms Faulkner was transported to hospital by Coastguard helicopter and it is understood she is currently in intensive care and remains in critical condition.

The Community Rescue Service (CRS) had worked with police to scour the local area looking for the missing woman.

CRS Regional Commander Sean McCarry said that the woman was located on Friday evening after police air support noticed a heat source in the Cave Hill area, overlooking Belfast.

Police and a 35 member CRS specialist team were tasked to the area at around 6pm on Friday evening and after a period of searching found the missing woman.

Mr McCarry said that when found, the woman was in need of "immediate medical attention".

CRS and police liaised with the Coastguard Coordination Centre at Bangor who arranged for a helicopter to be dispatched to the scene from Prestwick.

The woman was then taken to a nearby clearing where she was airlifted to hospital in Belfast for treatment.

Mr McCarry said the woman had ended up in a "very remote and inaccessible" area of Cave Hill which took the rescue team around an hour to locate.

The operation lasted around four hours in total and finished at roughly 10pm.

"The police air support deserve credit for locating the woman and facilitating her rescue," Mr McCarry said.

"The operation had an extremely positive ending for everyone, the woman, her family and friends and the search team who had spent three days and nights out looking for her."

Mr McCarry said the woman may not have survived had she spent much longer without rescue.

"We never give up hope, we have been out on searches much longer than three days and still had a positive result," he said.

"This is why we do what we do, you just never know where people could be or end up if they get themselves into difficulty. Not every operation we are part of has a happy ending."

Mr McCarry said the rescue operation was a "classic example" of a successful multi-agency approach with the CRS, police and the Coastguard all working together.

He paid tribute to the CRS volunteers involved in the woman's rescue and said that over 70 other volunteers were involved in searches in other parts of Northern Ireland at the same time.

"I give my sincere thanks to everyone involved in this operation and I'd also like to wish the woman a speedy recovery," Mr McCarry said.

A PSNI spokesman confirmed that Ms Faulkner had been found safe.

"Police are no longer looking for missing person Lisa Faulkner, she has been found and is safe. Thank you for your assistance," a spokesman said.

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