Incident (1) 17th January. At 13.14 the Police called, asking us to assist a 90 year old male walker who was stranded on the open moor between Bellever Tor and Laughter Tor. He had been part of a large group of walkers but had become exhausted and unable to continue. We located him by a wall near the forest margin and following assessment and provision of a hot drink he was transported by LandRover back to our RV at Dunnabridge. The Police drove him and his companion back to their transport near Postbridge.
(2) 26th January. We were called by the Police at 14.07 to assist with an incident between Devil’s Tor and Rough Tor. One of a group of eight 14 / 15 year old girls training for Ten Tors was injured and could not proceed further. Members were deployed in heavy rain and low cloud to locate the group who were staying with the casualty, and were in group shelters. They were located near the head of a valley 500m SW of Rough Tor and the casualty was assessed. Another group of Ten Tors trainees were now also present at that location. The low cloud cleared at this point and a Devon Air Ambulance Helicopter was able to land. Team members assisted in loading the casualty aboard the helicopter, which then transferred her to a SWASFT ambulance at Holming Beam for transport to Derriford Hospital. Team members escorted the rest of the group back to their minibuses at Holming Beam to ensure all were safely off the Moor.
(3) 31st January. Our colleagues in North Dartmoor Search & Rescue Team called us at 19.41 to assist them with incidents resulting from the sudden, heavy snowfall. They were already responding to stranded cars in North Devon when tasked to assist with multiple vehicles stuck on the A30 from Sourton to Whiddon Down. We sent a Team LandRover with a crew of two, including a qualified CasCarer, to complement them in welfare checks on the stranded motorists. Members were stood down just after midnight.
(4) 9th February. The Police called us at 21.00 to request us to search on the moor following a report by a member of the public that flares had been seen over Willsworthy Range and that the Army stated that they were not using the range. A car was located parked at an entrance to the range and it was confirmed that two males had left for a trip into the Moor. Search parties were deployed in heavy rain and poor visibility and the two men were located camping at the head of Tavy Cleave. They reassured us that they needed no assistance and had not launched any flares. Members left the Moor at around 01.00.
(5) 14th February. Our assistance was requested by the Police at 19.24 , to assist in the search for a very high risk despondent who had abandoned her car just off the A386 on Roborough Down. A joint search with our colleagues from DSRT Plymouth was initiated. A National Police Air Service helicopter located the subject, and with the assistance of a farmer’s quad vehicle she was transported to a waiting Ambulance.
(6) 18th February. The Police called us at 17.09 in response to a call from the Ambulance Service, requesting our assistance with an incident near Bellever Tor. A 68yr old female had sustained a fractured leg. The Team were deployed, but en route we were stood down as a Devon Air Ambulance helicopter had been able to get to the casualty.
(7) 27th February. At 12.43 the Police requested our assistance in a search for a high risk despondent. The 62yr old male had been missing since the previous day and his car had been located at Higher Cherrybrook Car Park, at the edge of Bellever Forest. During an extensive operation areas of dense woodland were searched by our members and Police officers whilst a National Police Air Service helicopter carried out an aerial search of woodland clearings and open moorland. A Police search dog team continued searching the woodland when other assets were stood down as daylight faded.
(8) 28th February. The Police called the Team at 13.25 to resume the search carried out yesterday for a 62 year old male despondent. Following the confirmation that an item located by us yesterday was owned by the missing subject a more focussed search was begun extending beyond the previous search areas. The subject was located at 16.30 and warmed and given hot drinks whilst awaiting arrival of an Ambulance.
(9) 10th April. At 12:16 we were called by Police to assist the Ambulance Service with an incident near the summit of Cox Tor. An 80 year old male had fallen and sustained head injuries including an open wound. An advance party left the car park within 10 minutes of the Team being called out to go to the casualty site to feed back what equipment would be required. Two team Land Rovers then deployed toward the casualty location, transporting personnel and kit. After the Paramedic had assessed the subject, and dressed his wound, he was loaded onto a wheeled stretcher and taken down to the SWASFT Ambulance waiting in the car park, for the onward transport to hospital.
(10) 12th April. At 13:13 we received a call from the Police requesting our Team to assist the Ambulance service with the evacuation of a casualty from the Moor. A 42 year old climber had fallen over 6 metres from the main climbing face on Sheeps Tor, landing on his back and head. He was reported to have sustained hand, head, back and possible spinal injuries. Our first member reached the RV within 10 minutes of the callout and proceeded to the casualty site with Ambulance Paramedics. Further personnel, kit and wheeled stretcher were then deployed, and after full assessment and treatment by Paramedics the subject was packaged in immobilising kit and stretchered down to a waiting SWAST Ambulance for urgent transport to Derriford Hospital. It was an excellent example of inter-agency co-operation involving SWAST Staff, SWAST HART Team and 20 of our volunteer members.
Postscript 15th April: We have been updated that the subject sustained multiple fractures to neck, back and ribs. He is however expected to have no permanent loss of mobility. We wish him well in his recovery.
(11) 21st April. The Police called the Team at 13:43 to attend an incident involving a 52 year old male who had sustained an ankle injury and was unable to walk further. The incident was alongside Newleycombe Lake, about 3km upstream from Burrator Reservoir, in a steep-sided valley. An advance party was sent to assess the casualty and when the SWAST HART team arrived they were escorted to the casualty site. After the subject had been splinted and given pain relief he was transported by stretcher to a landing site where he was loaded into a Devon Air Ambulance for transport to Derriford Hospital. Another incident involving joint working with statutory services, Air Ambulance and 18 of our volunteer members.
(12) 27th April. Our assistance was requested at 14:06 by the Police for an incident at Combshead Tor. A 14 year old lad in a group training for Ten Tors had got his leg stuck in a deep hole in a large granite boulder and was unable to free himself. A hasty running party, including a doctor, was deployed to the casualty site. The subject was freed from the rock after about 45 minutes after his boot had been eased off and was assessed by our members. He was escorted down to Deancombe Farm and then transported by Team Land Rover to the car park at Norsworthy Bridge.
(13) 20th May. We were called at 17.03 to assist in the search for a missing 79 year old man. He was last seen over four hours previously not far from his home near Metherell, and there were concerns for his safety due to his medical conditions.The Police had used a search dog and a National Police Air Service helicopter to try to locate him but with no success. One of our air-scenting search dog teams was deployed to nearby woodland and other members tasked to search fields and drive around local lanes. Soon after this we received reports that the subject had been found and our search dog team was quickly on site. The gentleman had fallen down a 5 foot bank and was wedged between the bank and a fence. He was assessed by one of our Cas Carers and then stretchered to a waiting Ambulance crew at 20.10
(14) 6th June. At 05:53 the Police called us to assist in the search for a lone serviceman who had not returned from a solo night navigation exercise and had last been seen at 00.40. In spite of an extensive search by his colleagues the camouflaged individual had not been located. Hasty search parties and a Search Dog team were deployed and the subject was located near Ditsworthy Warren House just before 07:30, unharmed and en route to their base at the Scout Hut.
(15) 8th June. At 23:22 we received a request from the Police to assist in a search for a missing high risk 81 year old female, who has advanced dementia. She had been seen last at 18:00 at her home in North Brentor, but had gone out dressed in jeans and fleece jacket and with only smooth-soled shoes. We first deployed a tracking search dog from Mountain Rescue Search Dogs, England to try to identify what route she may have started upon. This was followed by searches using air-scenting dogs, walking parties and hasty runners, covering an extensive area of fields and open moorland around the village in areas she had been known to walk in the past. As we prepared to do detailed searches of properties the lady was located just before 07:00, laying behind an outbuilding of a neighbouring house, where she had fallen not long after leaving home. She was assessed by a Team member who is an Ambulance Paramedic, and then stretchered to her home to be warmed whilst awaiting the arrival of an Ambulance. A successful outcome to a lengthy deployment.
Postscript: The family have confirmed that the lady had sustained a fracture to her upper arm as a result of her fall, but is recovering well from her accident and is in good spirits.
(16) 17th July. We were called by the Police at 11:25 to assist in the search for a high risk 61 year old male, believed to be in the area of Burrator Reservoir. During briefing we were asked to delay deployment as it was thought that the subject had been located by a helicopter from the National Police Air Service. We were subsequently stood down.
(17) 21st July. The Police called for our assistance at 17:18 regarding an incident involving a high risk 38 year old missing person. Her car had been located at Pork Hill car park, and she had gone onto the moor. A search dog team and a foot team had been deployed when the Police Helicopter spotted the subject in bracken and gorse just south of Little Staple Tor. She was treated and we then stretchered her to an Ambulance waiting in the nearby car park. After transfer she was taken to hospital for further treatment. The rescue response was another great example of inter-agency co-operation.
(18) 23rd July. At 16:45 we received a call to assist the Ambulance service with the evacuation of a 60 year old female from the moor. She had suffered a suspected fracture of a leg while walking on rough ground by Beckamoor Brook, south of the Tavistock to Princetown road. Once the Ambulance paramedic had completed treatment team members stretchered the casualty up to the Ambulance at the roadside.
(19) 31st July. We were asked at 23.03 to assist the Police with an incident in the Burrator area. A 51 year old male, deemed to be at high risk, had been reported missing in the early afternoon. A Police helicopter had spotted a tent on top of Sheeps Tor and we attended to guide Police to that location as the terrain can be challenging in darkness. The occupant of the tent was not the subject of the search. One of our air-scenting search dog teams was then deployed to check several points of interest, which had been visited previously by the subject. We suspended our activity at 01.15, while Police investigation was ongoing.
(20) 1st August The Police called at 12.59 to request our assistance in the ongoing search for the male missing since yesterday from the Burrator area. Several parties of searchers and four air-scenting search dog teams as well as Police search personnel were deployed to search extensive areas of woodland and rough moorland. Many ruined buildings were checked, as places where refuge may have been sought. We suspended our activity at about 19.30, while DSRT Plymouth was deployed to a different area.
(21) 2nd August. At 9.05 the Police contacted us to provide support to an ongoing search in the Cornwood area. Throughout the day our team members worked with DSRT Plymouth, Police and eight search dog teams from Mountain Rescue Search Dogs England to cover an extensive search area. The subject had not been located by 20.15 when our volunteer assets were stood down from the search.
5th August. Update to above three deployments: The subject was located this morning at 07.50 in the Roborough Down area, walking and apparently in reasonable condition. A welcome outcome after being missing for so long.
(22) 9th August. Our colleagues in North Dartmoor SART called us at 20.47 to assist them with an incident near Lints Tor. One 18 year old female in a group of six youngsters had become hypothermic due to the heavy rain and high winds and they were sheltering in a tent. They were not at the originally reported location and a search was undertaken. Tavistock members were stood down once the subjects had been located south of Kneeset Nose in appalling weather conditions. NDSART members escorted the group back to Dinger Tor to vehicles for transport from the Moor.
(23) 14th August. At 21:50 a team member was returning home when he noticed torch lights and heard worried voices near the top of Pew Tor. On investigation, a male despondent aged 30 had been located by police officers and a family member, with assistance from local residents. Paramedics were brought to the scene by another resident in an all-terrain vehicle. After liaison with a Police officer on site the Team were requested to assist in the evacuation of the individual. The team had just finished an evening of navigation training near Willsworthy when they received the callout and were re-deployed to the scene. The subject was treated for chest pain from a suspected fall from height and other medical conditions. He was immobilised, loaded onto a stretcher and transported by team members over rough ground to the waiting ambulance. Another good example of effective joint working between the Police, Ambulance and Mountain Rescue agencies, with the selfless assistance of concerned local residents.
(24) 25th August. The Police called us at 19:39 to request our assistance with the evacuation of a collapsed 60 year old female. The subject was reported to be suffering from heat exhaustion and was said to be on the track between South Hessary Tor and Princetown. A team member who happened to be at Princetown was deployed immediately to locate the collapsed lady and the first of our Team Ambulances was at the RV within 20 minutes of the Police call. Despite the rapid arrival of our personnel there was no sign of the subject anywhere on the track between Princetown and Peat Cot. Following discussion with the Police Control room we stood down and the incident log was closed.
(25) 4th September. At 18.31 the Police requested that we assist the Ambulance Service in the evacuation of a casualty from Foggintor Quarry. A 31 year old French male had fallen in the quarry and sustained a bad dislocation of his right ankle. A team member transported Ambulance personnel to the site along the rough track past Yellowmeade Farm and the rest of our personnel were deployed to the casualty site. After splinting and analgesia we then transported the subject on a stretcher around the water-filled quarry to a waiting Devon Air Ambulance for transport to hospital.
(26) 7th September. We were called at 15.22 by the Police and requested to assist in the evacuation of a casualty from Dartmoor. While further information was being obtained one of our members who lives nearby went to the site and confirmed that a 60 year old male had lost control of his 4×4 mobility buggy on a track from Pew Tor to Oakley Cottage, and fallen in a small gully. Devon Air Ambulance crew and two Ambulance paramedics were on scene. After assessment the gentleman was walked to the ambulance and our member assisted in the recovery of the buggy.