Miss­ing snow­board­ers plucked from moun­tain af­ter mam­moth search

LO­CAL MEN TRAPPED ON LUGNAQUILLA FOR 16 HOURS

Bray People - - News - Myles BUCHANAN

TWO WICK­LOW snow­board­ers were saved from an icy death last night af­ter be­ing plucked from snow-bound Lugnaquilla Moun­tain af­ter one the big­gest ever com­bined res­cue op­er­a­tions in the des­o­late area.

A huge res­cue op­er­a­tion swung into place to find the men who had dis­ap­peared on the fog­bound moun­tain­side on Mon­day night.

Af­ter the alarm was raised Bri­tish RAF Sea King he­li­copters flew in res­cue teams from Wales, join­ing other teams from Sligo, Mayo, Le­in­ster and North­ern Ire­land.

He­li­copters from the Air Corps and the Coast Guard took part in the huge op­er­a­tion, sweep­ing the snow-bound moun­tains for any sign of the miss­ing snow­board­ers, who were be­lieved to be in one of the most danger­ous ar­eas of the moun­tain, the high­est in Le­in­ster.

At one stage vis­i­bil­ity was down to only a few me­tres, but af­ter be­ing trapped on the moun­tain for around 16 hours, the pair were fi­nally tracked down to the cen­tre gully on Lugnaquilla’s South Prison cliffs where they had be­come trapped and were suf­fer­ing from ex­po­sure.

While they had both suf­fered due to the freez­ing weather con­di­tions, Paul Gil­bert, PRO for Dublin/Wick­low Moun­tain Res­cue team said, ‘they are do­ing as well as any­one en­dur­ing those sort of harsh con­di­tions can be ex­pected.’

The first man was re­moved from the top of Lugnaquilla at 4.35 p.m. by a Coast Guard Siko­rsky he­li­copter which brought him on a stretcher to the land­ing strip be­ing used by res­cuers.

He was trans­ferred to an Air Corps he­li­copter for the short jour­ney across the moun­tains to Tal­laght Hospi­tal, while the Siko­rsky re­turned to the peak to pick up the sec­ond man, who was taken di­rectly to the hospi­tal.

Around 200 peo­ple took part in the res­cue.

Photo: Garry O’Neill.

An RAF Sea King he­li­copter de­liv­ers res­cue teams from Wales at Lugnaquilla yes­ter­day (Tues­day) af­ter­noon.

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