Missing snowboarders plucked from mountain after mammoth search
LOCAL MEN TRAPPED ON LUGNAQUILLA FOR 16 HOURS
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.
An RAF Sea King helicopter delivers rescue teams from Wales at Lugnaquilla yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon.