DSRT Tavistock – 2016 Callouts.

23rd Jan (1) The Police called us at 17.04 to search for three female walkers who had reported themselves lost in the Rough Tor area, in thick mist and approaching darkness. They had made an error on leaving the Tor and believed they had gone further north, before starting to head south. The Team were called out to rendezvous at Two Bridges and assistance was requested from DSRT Plymouth as some of our members had just finished an all day exercise on North Dartmoor and would be delayed in arriving. A hasty search team was deployed from Holming Beam to head for Beardown Tors, Crow Tor and Rough Tor and another from Two Bridges to Longaford, Higher White and Lower White Tors. After making phone contact with the walkers it was established they had made good progress southwards and were walking alongside the Cowsic River. They continued along the leat and Team members picked them up at the roadside and transported them to the Two Bridges Hotel, to dry off and warm up.

25th February (2)

At 17.45 the Ambulance service requested our assistance with the evacuation of an injured lady from the Walkham Valley, below Gem Bridge. The 54 year old had fallen whilst walking her dog and sustained an ankle injury and a fracture of her left leg. There were also concerns regarding possible neck injury. She was treated for her injuries by ambulance personnel and then Team members, assisted by four colleagues from DSRT Plymouth, transported her by stretcher to the waiting Ambulance at Bedford Bridge car park.

3rd March (3) We were called by Cornwall SRT at 21.00 and requested to provide specialist water team support in a search for a missing high risk 19yr old male. The subject had last been seen at 17.20 at a location about 2km north of Dobwalls and there were concerns for his safety, partly due to his inadequate clothing for the weather conditions. Our members searched a section of the River Fowey while CSRT members and two SARDA search dog teams searched dense woodland and farmland. The search was stood down at around 02.45.

4th March (4) The Police called us at 09.38 and asked for our support again in the search for the young man who had not been located overnight. As the numbers able to attend were limited colleagues from DSRT Plymouth and DSRT Okehampton were called to assist. After several hours of searching by Rescue Team members, search dog teams and Police Helicopter we were recalled to our Control location, as the subject had been found. Sadly he was deceased and our thoughts are with the family.

18th March (5) We were called at 17.30 by the Police and asked to assist the Ambulance service with an incident on the top of Cox Tor. It had been reported that a 16 year old girl, who was part of a Duke of Edinburgh Gold expedition team, had collapsed and was unconscious. The Air Ambulance was unable to attend due to adverse visibility. On arrival at the top of Cox Tor a hasty foot team found there was no casualty there. A search was conducted and the subject was located with the rest of her group on the Western slopes of Roos Tor. Whilst being treated by one of our members who is a Paramedic the Coastguard helicopter from Newquay arrived on scene and landed. Our members carried the casualty by stretcher and loaded her onto the helicopter and she was airlifted to Derriford Hospital. Our members then escorted the rest of the group back to the roadhead where their mini-bus was waiting.

19th March (6) The ambulance service called us at 15.00 to assist with a 15 yr old female casualty. She had fallen and sustained a lower leg injury and was supposedly about 500m NW of Lydford Tor. When our hasty response party got to that area there was no sign of an injured subject. On moving further North they were advised that there was a group sheltering near Cowsic Head. At this point we summoned the assistance of DSRT Plymouth, as it looked as if a long stretcher haul was ahead and extra manpower would be required. The casualty site was located and analgesia was given and splinting applied by one of our CasCarers. At this time the Air Ambulance arrived on scene and while loading the young lady on board we stood down DSRT Plymouth. She was evacuated by air to the land Ambulance for transfer to Derriford Hospital, while team members escorted the rest of the youngsters back to our RV.

7th April (7) DSRT Okehampton called us at 20.55 to request our assistance in locating and evacuating a young girl who had become unwell whilst taking part in a Duke of Edinburgh expedition. The group of youngsters were supposed to be near Great Kneeset, but no sign of them was found when a search party arrived in that area. An extensive search was then carried out, involving walking teams, a running team and a search dog team. Just before midnight we were informed that the DofE team had walked off the Moor. The last of our members did not get back to base until 02.00 on Friday morning. Some members had been to a training session with Merlin helicopters earlier in the evening in preparation for our support of Ten Tors and had only just returned home when we were called for this incident and so had been out on the Moor for nine hours.

16th April (8) We were called by DSRT Plymouth at 13.15 to assist in the search for a 48yr old male who was deemed to be at risk. There was concern for his safety as he suffers from several medical problems and had been missing from a residential care home since late the previous evening. An extensive search of woodland and farmland to the immediate north of Plymouth was carried out by members of both teams, including two search dog teams. The Teams were stood down when the subject was located at around 15.45 in a farm outbuilding.

6th May (9) At around 20.00, as our members were setting up base in Willsworthy Camp ready to provide safety cover for Ten Tors 2016, we were called to assist DSRT Okehampton in a search for an at risk 85 yr old male. His car had been found abandoned on a bridleway north of Meldon reservoir and there were concerns for his safety.

As members from both DSRT Tavistock and DSRT Okehampton Teams were required for early Ten Tors duty on Saturday morning it was decided to call in additional assets from Exmoor and DSRT Ashburton to help. Cornwall and Plymouth Teams were put on standby to continue in the morning. In spite of an extensive search by foot teams, search dogs and Police helicopter the subject was not located until daylight hours of Saturday morning. He was taken by ambulance for medical assessment.

After just a few hours of rest our Team members were back on Dartmoor, monitoring Ten Tors and assisting some participants who had suffered minor injuries and heat-related problems.

20th May ( 10) We were called by the Police at 18.40 to assist two walkers in the Beardown Tors area who had reported they could not walk any further. A 21 year old female had injured her ankle and her companion was also believed to be injured. A hasty walking Team was sent to locate the subjects followed by a stretcher party with medical kit. In anticipation of a double stretcher carry we called our colleagues from DSRT Plymouth to assist. In poor visibility and driving rain the casualties were located to the north of the Tor and were being assessed when the HART unit from South West Ambulance Service arrived at our Control point. We deployed their 6 wheel off-road vehicle to the casualty location. The young lady was transported by this vehicle back to the roadhead to an ambulance and her companion was escorted back to our vehicles and also returned to Two Bridges Hotel.

28th May (11) We were called at 03.45 by DSRT Okehampton, who requested our assistance in the search for a 60 yr old male, deemed to be at high risk. The subject had been missing in Barnstaple since the middle of Thursday night and DSRT Oke and Exmoor SRT members had been looking for him since they were called at about 22.30 on Friday night. We were stood down at 08.15, as the subject had been located by a Police staff member not far from the Police Station.

1st July (12) We were called at 13.30 and requested to assist with an ongoing search near Bodmin. A 54 year old female who was deemed to be at high risk had been missing for over 24 hours despite an extensive search by Police and Cornwall Search & Rescue Team. As DSRT Tavistock and DSRT Plymouth members were preparing to deploy from the Police Station to allocated search areas we were stood down, as the subject had been located, sadly deceased.

3rd July (13) At 02.00 we were called out by the Police to search for three people on Dartmoor who had reported themselves in need of assistance in darkness, bad weather and poor visibility. The male and two ladies had walked for some time from Nun’s Cross and as they had no map or compass had become lost in the prevailing conditions. They were located by a hasty search party to the East of Down Tor and after our members had confirmed that the subjects of the search had suffered no injuries they were escorted back to our RV at Norsworthy Bridge. From there the Police returned them to their transport near Peat Cot.

6th July (14) At 21.38 DSRT Okehampton requested our assistance with a search in Bude. A 70 year old male suffering from dementia and some other medical problems had not been seen since 17.00 the previous day. Members of both Teams, including a SARDA dog handler along with Police and HM CoastGuard personnel carried out an extended search of coastal paths, fields and urban areas until the last search parties were stood down at around 03.30. The Police continued their investigations and around breakfast time we were informed the subject had been located and was in hospital.

24th July (15) We received a call at 09.48 to assist with another search in North Cornwall, at Kilkhampton. The 59 year old local male despondent had been missing since early afternoon the previous day and there were serious concerns for his safety. An extensive search was organised involving the local community, Police, members of our Team, including two Sarda Dog handlers along with DSRT Okehampton as well as some HM Coastguard personnel. The search was stood down just before 16.00, when it was reported the subject had been located in woodland, sadly deceased. Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the deceased gentleman.

30th July (16) The Police requested our assistance at 11.41 in the search for a male believed to be in difficulty on the Moor near Doe Tor. Separate sources had reported repeated calls for help coming from the area of Doe Tor Brook. A search of a large area by our members and the Police helicopter was suspended just after 14.00 as no one had been found and no further calls had been heard.

1st Aug (17) We were called at around 19.15 by DSRT Plymouth to assist in their search for two missing male walkers on the Moor north of Ivybridge. By using our SARLOC technology the location of the subjects was established and they were subsequently transported from the Moor.

6th August (18) Our Team was called in the early afternoon to take over the search for a missing 16 year old male who had been seen last entering the River Dart at around 19.00 the previous day. An overnight search by our colleagues of DSRT Ashburton and DSRT Plymouth had failed to locate him. Our members searched until darkness and were then stood down. Sadly the body of the subject was recovered from the river the following day. Our thoughts are with the family and friends at this sad time.

14th Aug (19) At 23.57 we were requested by the Police to assist the Ambulance service with an incident in woodland near Bere Alston. They were dealing with a semi-conscious, intoxicated 15 year old female, who was hypothermic and uncooperative. Additional personnel were required to evacuate her up steep tracks through the woodland to the Ambulance. Her condition gradually improved and she was returned to her home by the Ambulance.

22nd Aug(20) At 19.00 the Police requested assistance with an incident on the Moor, where calls for help had been reported. As it was South of our area we referred it to our colleagues in DSRT Plymouth. They then called us to join the search over an extensive area of moorland, from the Scout Hut to as far East as Green Hill and from Plym Ford south into the Erme valley and across to Hen Tor. After midnight the search was suspended as no-one had been located and no further calls had been heard. It took a further hour and a half to recover the search parties back to our RV.

3rd Sept (21) As Cornwall SRT were unable to respond we were requested at 10.00 to assist with an incident near Darley Ford on the edge of Bodmin Moor. There were serious concerns for an 84 year old male who had been missing from home since the previous afternoon. An extensive search was carried out, in quarries, woodland and dense undergrowth. Three search dog teams were involved as well as the Police helicopter and D&C Police dive team. The weather conditions were poor with strong winds and driving rain. We stood down at 16.00, with Police units remaining on scene.

4th Sept (22) We were requested to resume the previous day’s search from 0800, along with members from most of the other Teams in our region. While search parties were searching undergrowth the Police helicopter located the subject and directed members of our Team to provide casualty care. He was treated for hypothermia by our qualified CasCarers, placed in an insulated casbag and stretchered to a LandRover ambulance. This transported him to the helicopter landing site which then evacuated him to Derriford Hospital. An unexpected happy ending after such extended exposure to inclement weather and cool nights.

24th Sept (23) At 10.20 we were requested to provide assistance to the Ambulance service to evacuate a casualty from Crow Tor. The subject had suffered a fracture to his leg. The air ambulance had been deployed but the crew were unable to transport him to their aircraft. As our members reached the site the Coastguard SAR helicopter took over the evacuation, winching him aboard and transporting to Derriford Hospital.

13th October (24) We were called by the Police just before midnight to assist in the search for a suicidal Plymouth man who was deemed to be at high risk. We were stood down when the subject was located in a church at Yelverton.

29th October (25) At 17.45 we were requested to assist the Ambulance service with an elderly male walker who was unwell near Broad Down, north of Postbridge. Members were stood down on arrival at the RV, as the subject had made his way off the moor with assistance from his walking group companions and a local farmer’s quad!

29th October (26) DSRT Okehampton called us at 21.18 for assistance in a search for an 18 yr old male walker, missing in the Meldon area. As members were en route to Meldon they were stood down as the subject had been located several miles away.

1st November (27) We were called at 15.45 to assist a lady who had fallen below Brat Tor and sustained injuries . Police were already on site, a few hundred metres NE of HighDown bridge and ford and had bandaged her injured arm. We provided Entonox to relieve the pain and she was transported by LandRover to an Ambulance waiting at The Dartmoor Inn, Lydford.

5th November (28) We were called by Police to assist with a search for two elderly ladies lost on the moor. After discussion with the control room they were advised to call our colleagues in DSRT Plymouth, who were situated closer to the area in which the ladies were missing. Before they were deployed the subjects were located by a Police helicopter and airlifted to safety.

30th November (29) We were called at 19.26 by the Police, to assist in a search for a 16 yr old girl who had been on a walking expedition on the Moor for several days and her family were concerned as no contact had been made by her. As DSRT Tavistock and DSRT Ashburton were already at Two Bridges for a joint training exercise, members of both Teams were deployed to search north along the subject’s proposed route in very cold and misty weather. After a member of the public reported a possible sighting of the subject near Prewley several members were relocated by vehicles to that area and she was found, asleep and snug in her tent just before midnight. A happy outcome, although a later finish than the proposed training exercise!

9th December (30) The Police called us at 20.15 to deal with an incident between Down Tor and Combshead Tor. A 15 year old girl in an organised group from Falmouth had fallen, banged her head and, temporarily, been rendered unconscious. She remained nauseous and dizzy and was unable to walk. Team members located the party and she was assessed by one of our Team doctors. She was then evacuated on a stretcher over rough ground in rain and mist to the Ambulance waiting near Norsworthy Bridge for transport to Derriford Hospital.