FOUR HOURS ON FREEZING MOUNTAIN
Ambulance sent to find woman Drama after broken ankle fall:
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)