DSRT Tavistock – 2015 Callouts

4th Jan (1) 12:59 Called by Police following request from SW Ambulance Service to standby to assist with a casualty at HayTor. Stood down as ambulance personnel no longer required help.

5th Jan (2) 17:53 Called by DSRT Okehampton to assist in a search for an 85 yr old male missing in a large forest plantation near Halwill Junction. As our first members were nearing the R.V. we were stood down as the subject had been located on a woodland track.

27th Jan (3) 18:16 Police requested us to search for two foreign visitors who had not returned from a walk on Dartmoor. They had started from Postbridge car park at 10:30 with the intention of visiting the waterfall on the Dart and then on to Fernworthy Forest but had not returned to their car as darkness fell. We were stood down en route to the R.V. as they had turned up safely at a B&B.

23rd Feb (4) 06:50 Exmoor SRT called us for assistance in continuing a search in the Bideford area for a high-risk missing person . The 66 year old lady had not been seen since 23:00 on 21st Feb and there were serious concerns for her welfare, increased by the inclement weather. An extensive search by members of three SRTeams, Police, Fire Service and HM Coastguards was stood down when the subject was located unharmed at around 12:50.

15th March (5) 16:20 DSRT Plymouth put us on standby to assist with a possible stretcher -off of a casualty from the Plym valley upstream of Shaugh Bridge. We were stood down as a SAR helicopter winched the casualty and transported to hospital.

17th March (6) 03:05 Police requested us to assist DSRT Okehampton in the search for a 42 yr old male who was still missing after a single vehicle road traffic collision near Holsworthy. There were concerns that he may have collapsed after leaving the scene. We were stood down when the subject was located in fields by a Police dog team.

7th April (7) Requested by Police to keep alert for an at risk male believed to have driven onto Dartmoor.

24th April (8) The Police called at 21:37 requesting us to search for five 16yr olds training for their D of E Expedition, who had become lost in bad weather south of Princetown. They were reported to be soaking wet and cold and unable to continue and were sheltering in their tent. Deployment was delayed initially as technical systems were used to attempt to determine their location. This did not prove successful, so our Team was then deployed along with colleagues from DSRT Plymouth, as there was potentially a huge area to search in extremely poor weather, with visibility limited to 10 metres in some places. One of our search teams located them below Lower Hartor Tor, near the River Plym and they were then escorted to DSRT Plymouth’s LandRover and transported to the Scout Hut near Gutter Tor to be reunited with their team manager. Our members got back to their vehicles at around 01:00.

25th April (9) At 15.42 we were asked to send our LandRover Ambulance and stretcher to Holming Beam, to assist in the recovery of an injured 16 yr old lad from Beardown Tor. He was part of a team training for Ten Tors and had suffered an ankle injury and could not walk further. The incident had been reported by members of the Search and Rescue Dog Association, some of whom are members of our Team, who were training in the area and they stretchered the casualty to our vehicle. He was handed over to his team managers for transport to hospital.

26th April (10) We were alerted just after 2 p.m. that a search was required for a 37 yr old despondent male missing from Plymouth, his car having been located on Roborough Down. DSRT Plymouth commenced the search and called our team to assist at 16:40. Nineteen of our members, including three of our Search Dog handlers took part in the search. As fresh information came in the area of search was extended and the Police helicopter reported a possible sighting of the subject near Combeshead Tor. Team members were deployed by vehicle to the area and escorted the gentleman back to our control point.

2nd July (11) DSRT Plymouth requested our assistance at 10:40 to stretcher a soldier with head injuries from Gutter Tor to an ambulance. As the first of our members arrived on scene the casualty was airlifted to hospital.

7th July (12) Called at 16.44 by DSRT Plymouth to assist with a collapsed 18 yr old member of a Duke of Edinburgh’s expedition team, near Nun’s Cross Farm. We were stood down as Team members were en route, as an air ambulance had landed at the casualty site. Subsequently the subject recovered enough to be walked off to the roadhead at Peat Cott.

18th July (13) Called at 16.28 by the Police to take over a search that had been started by DSRT Plymouth. A high risk 44 year old female had been missing since 10:00 and was believed to be in woodland in the Plym Valley, near Woolwell. The search was called off after four hours when she was located near Bickleigh Barracks.

24th July (14) DSRT Okehampton called us at 16.45 to assist in the search for an injured 40 year old male missing on Northern Dartmoor. The two teams worked closely together and when the subject was located on the slopes of Steeperton Tor first aid equipment and a stretcher were carried to the casualty location, as it was inaccessible by vehicle. He was wet, cold and unable to walk due to an ankle injury. The weather conditions were very poor, with rain and thick mist reducing the visibility at times to about 20 metres which prevented evacuation by helicopter. So once treated by a Casualty Carer and insulated in a fleece Casbag he was loaded onto our wheeled stretcher and carried for 2 kilometres over rough moorland to our LandRover ambulance. He was then transported off the Moor and handed over to a SW Ambulance waiting at the roadhead. A successful outcome after integrated work by both teams including use of three of our Team LandRovers to assist in deployment and recovery. Return to base was at about 9.30 p.m.

4th August (15) Our Team was requested to assist in a search for an at risk 49 year old female, who had been missing for 36 hours after leaving Derriford Hospital in an agitated state. Police and DSRT Plymouth had already carried out some searching to the South of the Hospital. The Police suspended the search at about 22.00. The subject was located out of our search area the following day.

11th August (16) At 16.15 we were called by the Police to assist in a search for a despondent 56 year old male who had been missing from Ivybridge since the previous day. His car had been located between Cornwood and Wotter near a large area of woodland. We were stood down before starting a search, as sadly the subject was found deceased by a Police search team.

12th August (17) The team was called at 17.00 to assist the Police in a search near Marsh Mills, Plymouth, for a 39 year old female despondent who was deemed to be at high risk. DSRT Plymouth members had been searching during the afternoon and our members were deployed to new areas. Within a few minutes of commencing our search the subject was located in undergrowth by DSRT Tavistock members, only a few hundred yards from the Search Control point, but she ran off towards the main road. Guidance given to the Police allowed them to take her into custody not far from where we had located her.

17th August (18) Cornwall Search Team requested our assistance at 05.45 in the search for a 64 year old male. The gentleman, who has dementia as well as other medical problems, had gone missing from Liskeard Community Hospital at about 9.30 the previous evening wearing only pyjamas and a jumper. An overnight search by Police had been unsuccessful. One of our members located him on a path, collapsed and cold, several hundred metres from the Hospital. After medical assessment he was placed in an insulated casualty bag, loaded onto one of our stretchers and carried back to the Hospital.

24th August (19) The Team were called by the Police at 21.25 to assist in the search for an at risk 23 year old male. He had been seen at around 14.00 walking from his Tavistock home towards the Moor. Team members, including a search dog team, were deployed to search the Pew Tor area as there had been a possible sighting of the subject nearby around 21.00. As further members were being briefed to search undergrowth-covered areas of Tavistock Golf course we were stood down as the young man had returned to the family home, unharmed.

29th August (20) The Police called us at 16.00 to assist the Ambulance service with the recovery of a 15 year old lad who had collapsed near Cowsic Head, NW of Devil’s Tor. He was one of a group of Air Cadets training for their Silver Duke of Edinburgh’s award. The Ambulance Service had already deployed two Paramedics from their HART team toward the casualty location and some of our members deployed with their Polaris six-wheel all- terrain vehicle as back-up. The casualty was airlifted by the Devon Air Ambulance to our control point at Holming Beam and then transported by ambulance to Derriford Hospital. We then stood down the rest of our team as well as colleagues from the Plymouth Team who had been called to assist us , as all that remained was for the remainder of the cadets to be escorted from the moor. Once they were all accounted for they were taken in Rescue Group vehicles back to their campsite at Harford Bridge.

7th September (21) We were called at 18.05 to assist DSRT Plymouth in a search for a missing 35 year old female who was deemed to be at high risk by the Police. She had gone missing from her home in Woolwell at around 23.00 the previous night, dressed only in pyjamas and had not been seen since. While our members were searching woodland in the Plym valley the Team was stood down as she had been located elsewhere.

24th September (22) DSRT Plymouth called at 16.15 to request our assistance in the search for a high risk missing 22 year old male. He had not been seen for 48 hours and was believed to be in the Plymbridge area. Our members searched woodland and dense undergrowth in Cann Woods until twilight at 20.00 when we were stood down by the Police, but told we might be required to continue the next day. Sadly we were not needed as on the Friday the body of the subject was located by Police.

29th September (23) We were called at 01.18 by DSRT Ashburton to take over the search for a missing 46 year old lady in the Haytor area. She had left her home nearby around midday and not returned. As some items of the subject’s clothing had been found at around lunchtime there were concerns regarding her wellbeing. Following a sighting of her by a member of the public at 15.00 an extensive search by Police, the Police helicopter, DSRT Ashburton and one of our SARDA dog teams had failed to locate her. At around 04.30 one of our searching Hill Party’s heard a faint call for help. She was soon located in rocky terrain and thick undergrowth and assessed by a Team Doctor. She was exhausted and very cold, not surprising due to her lack of clothing and footwear. She was warmed and provided with clothing before being escorted a short distance to one of our LandRovers for transport from the moorland to be handed over to the care of Ambulance personnel and assessment in hospital. Returned to base at 07.30.

11th October (24) At 12.10 DSRT Plymouth requested our assistance in dealing with two injured cyclists who were taking part in the St Luke’s Hospice Charity ride “Tour de Moor”. The incident had occurred on the Eylesbarrow track and as members of both Teams were being deployed by our LandRover ambulances to the site we were stood down as one casualty with a head injury had just been taken by Air Ambulance to Derriford Hospital and the other was being brought off the Moor by an event support vehicle.

21st October (25) We were called to advise on a report received from a member of the public who had seen what they believed to be distress flares over the Moor. After detailed discussion with the informant regarding location and type of light seen it was decided no deployment was required as it was almost certainly military training that had been observed.

25th October(26) At 18.38 the Police requested that we search for two ladies who were lost on the Moor in darkness. Their last known point had been at Grey Wethers but they had become disorientated while trying to return to Postbridge Car Park. As the team were en route we were stood down because the Police helicopter had located the missing persons and was airlifting them from the Moor.

29th October (27) DSRT Plymouth called at 11.53 requesting our assistance with a casualty near Cadover Bridge. A lady had fallen by the River Plym, sustaining a lower leg injury and needed to be transported to the Ambulance in the car park.

3rd November (28) We were called at 07.00 to assist the Police with a continuation of the search that had started the previous night for a 42 year old lady, who was deemed to be at high risk. The search was based just north of Marsh Mills roundabout and covered densely-vegetated areas, woodland and the River Plym . After a search of over three hours, involving our members, some from DSRT Plymouth, a SARDA search dog, Police and Police helicopter we were stood down as fresh evidence suggested that the subject was unlikely to still be in that area. Police resources were redeployed to continue the search and the subject was located several hours later.

10th November (29) At 17.30 the Police requested our assistance to locate a couple of walkers who had reported themselves lost on the Moor, north of Two Bridges. The young lady had suffered an injury to an ankle and they were sheltering from the wind and driving mist. Certain information received aided us in defining a search area and teams including a Search dog team were deployed. The weather was poor with very reduced visibility, but they were located by one of our search parties at 19.30 just south of Crow Tor. The female walker was assessed by one of our CasCarers and it was agreed that with assistance they would walk off on an easier route until we could complete the evacuation using our LandRover ambulance, from just above the River Cowsic at Holming Beam.

11th November (30) Our routine Wednesday evening training was interrupted by a call from the Police at 19.45. We were asked to help in a search for a missing 25 year old Royal Marine who had not completed a navigation exercise on Dartmoor and there were concerns regarding his welfare. Following discussion with the Police and DSRT Plymouth we based our search at Norsworthy Bridge, Burrator and DSRT Plymouth operated from near Gutter Tor. Initially the search of a large area was conducted by walking teams, hasty runners and 3 search dog teams in rain and poor visibility but around midnight conditions improved and a SAR helicopter carried out an extensive air search. We suspended operations at around 01.30 without locating the subject.

12th November (31) At 06.35 we were requested to resume the search at first light for the missing male. As well as Dartmoor Search & Rescue Team members from Tavistock and Plymouth there were also over a hundred troops available along with Rangers from Dartmoor National Park. As teams began searching new areas and the visibility improved the subject of the search was located on the Eylesbarrow track, making his way back to base, having spent the night bedded down near Nun’s Cross Farm. During our night search members would have been within 400 metres of that location, but the combination of darkness, mist and camouflage clothing do not make it easy to spot someone!

24th November (32) The Police called us at 11.12 to assist them in a search for a 37 year old female missing from Plympton, as she was deemed to be at high risk . Her car had been located in a car park in Princetown at 11.00 and she was believed to be on open moorland. From details given by her in a telephone call with the Police a likely area for her location was assessed. Police units, Dartmoor National Park Rangers and members of Tavistock and Plymouth DSRT were deployed to search that area and she was located near Burrator reservoir just after 12.30.

8th December (33) We were called at 17.58 by the Police regarding an incident north of Postbridge on the West side of the East Dart River. A 66year old male was experiencing medical difficulties about a kilometre from the road and we were put on standby to assist. A SAR helicopter was deployed and airlifted the subject to an ambulance so team members were stood down.

18th December (34) At 15.24 the Police requested us to assist with an incident on the moor, east of Nun’s Cross Farm. A couple of walkers were lost in thick mist, visibility reduced at times to 30 metres. They were scared to proceed any further, as they had no map of that area and the only compass being the one on their mobile phone. A hasty walking party was with them in under an hour from the first call to us and after providing hot drinks they were escorted back in darkness to Peat Cot.

27th December (35) We were called early in the morning to provide specialist support for the Rescue Services already trying to deal with the unprecedented flooding in York and its surrounding area. Members of our Water Rescue Technicians team gathered at our Rescue Centre to organise the kit required, including a floating stretcher. Seven WRT’s and several other members in support left for the long journey north at around 15.00 in one of our Landrover Ambulances and another 4×4 vehicle. The other Teams from Dartmoor were also involved, each sending members of their water -trained units. On arrival they were briefed for deployment the following morning to Selby, south of the City of York, which was expected to be a focus of flooding as the water in York began to subside.

On the Monday and Tuesday our members were deployed to several areas outside of the city of York, to monitor water levels and to check on the welfare of residents of villages and hamlets who no longer had communication as phone lines were down and mobile networks congested. At the end of Tuesday afternoon the Team returned to their base to pack for the return journey home but were redeployed urgently to attend a bridge collapse in Tadcaster, which had caused a gas leak and residents needed to be evacuated. Late on Tuesday evening they finally departed for home, arriving in Tavistock around 03.00 on Wednesday.