HeadLine: A desperate race to save dad and son stranded on Ben Nevis
The Mirror, 05/01/2001, p19
by SHAUN MILNE
RESCUERS last night won a desperate race against time to reach a
13-year-old boy stranded more than 3000ft up a mountain with his
The pair were stuck above cloud level on Ben Nevis after the terrified
boy’s father fell and broke his leg on the so-called “tourist path”.
Despite the pain, the man was able to use his mobile phone to alert the
emergency services to the crisis – and give his approximate position.
A Royal Navy helicopter – Rescue 137 – was attempting to land a search
party half way up the 4,406ft mountain in the Great Glen when it was
beaten by poor visibility.
When it was forced to turn back, an RAF mountain rescue team struck out
on foot in treacherous icy conditions – desperate to reach the climbers
before temperatures on Britain’s highest peak fell too low.
The helicopter went to refuel at Inverness Airport before making a
second attempt to fly to the rescue scene by another route.
The pair were eventually reached by rescuers who stretchered the
injured man to a lower level before he was helicoptered to hospital.
In Belford Hospital, Fort William yesterday a teenager told of his
lucky escape from the Ben.
Climbers James O’Rourke, 19, and Richard Walder, 17, were caught in a
blizzard. James fell, breaking his leg and both men got stuck in snow.
They couldn’t get a telephone signal to contact rescue teams but, by
pure chance, James’ mum Margaret decided to ring her son’s mobile from
the family home in Barham, Kent.
She managed to get through and James had just enough time to tell her
what had happened before the signal cut out again.
Mrs O’Rourke called rescuers, who located the pair and flew them to
hospital by helicopter .
James said: “Who knows how long it would have been before we were
rescued if mum hadn’t managed to get through.”
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