FOUR HOURS ON FREEZING MOUN­TAIN

Am­bu­lance sent to find woman Drama after bro­ken an­kle fall:

Caernarfon Herald - - FRONT PAGE - Jez Hem­ming

A pen­sioner who fell and broke her an­kle while walk­ing on a moun­tain says she had to wait al­most four hours for an am­bu­lance to ar­rive.

Dog walker Bella Melville wants to know why 999 call op­er­a­tors didn’t sum­mon ei­ther the moun­tain res­cue or coast­guard teams to get her off Carn Fadryn moun­tain on the Llŷn Penin­sula, after she stum­bled on Wed­nes­day, Novem­ber 29.

Miss Melville says she first called 999 at 3.13pm and the last call from them to her, ask­ing for a pre­cise lo­ca­tion, was at 6.25pm.

Miss Melville man­aged to shuf­fle “about a quar­ter of a mile” on her back­side in the dark be­fore res­i­dents from the local vil­lage of Garn­fadryn found her and kept her warm while they waited for ser­vices to ar­rive. Even­tu­ally a paramedic lo­cated Miss Melville at around 7pm and the two vil­lagers car­ried her down to the wait­ing am­bu­lance, which took her to Ys­byty Gwynedd at around 7.30pm.

She was found to have a spi­ral frac­ture to her left an­kle and was dis­charged the fol­low­ing day.

She told our sis­ter pa­per the Daily Post. “I had the right cloth­ing on and I’m fit, but not ev­ery­one my age is.

“I’ve got a spi­ral frac­ture of my an­kle, but the in­jury could have been much worse.

“The av­er­age 69 year-old should not be left alone for four hours on a freezing moun­tain. It was pitch black and it was freezing and I was told not to move.”

Miss Melville said she would like as­sur­ances that 999 op­er­a­tors will be made aware of the dan­gers she was in.

She said: “I think there are two prob­lems. One is the un­der­fund­ing for the am­bu­lance ser­vice. They have the am­bu­lances but not the man­power.

“But it is the call han­dler at 999 who should have re­alised there was a prob­lem and got the right peo­ple to get me off that moun­tain.

“All the call han­dler knew was I was a 69 year-old woman stuck on a moun­tain, in the cold, with a bro­ken an­kle.

“Why weren’t moun­tain res­cue called or coast­guard teams be­cause they prob­a­bly had the right equip­ment to get me down? The paramedic didn’t have the equip­ment to get me to the am­bu­lance.”

Miss Melville was walk­ing with her Jack­ahuahua ( Jack Rus­sell/Chi­huahua cross) ‘Baskerville’ when she slipped and fell at around 3pm.

She said she waited a while hop­ing she would be able to get back to her car but col­lapsed when she put weight on her left foot and knew her an­kle was bro­ken: “As night drew in I was sat there singing songs to keep my spir­its up, while Baskerville sat on me to keep me warm,” said the for­mer writer and re­searcher. “I was pretty shocked.”

Miss Melville said she wants to thank the vil­lagers who helped her.

She added: “A cou­ple of guys turned up with their dogs and one wrapped me up in some­thing warm but I didn’t get their names be­cause I was in shock.

“I would love to say thank you to them.”

The Welsh Am­bu­lance Ser­vice has been ap­proached for com­ment.

● Bella Melville and her faith­ful dog Baskerville want to know why 999 op­er­a­tors didn’t send moun­tain res­cue or coast­guard to get her when she fell and frac­tured her an­kle (right)

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