Dartmoor Search and Rescue extended training – Saturday 25 November 2023

Dartmoor Rescue Group Joint Training Exercise with Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team – Ashburton, Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team – Tavistock, Mountain Rescue Search Dogs England and Devon & Cornwall 4×4 Response joined together for an extended search and rescue exercise.

Starting at 17:00 from Okehampton Army Camp, the Teams gathered for briefing and divided up into multiple Hill Parties. Four parties were formed between the three Dartmoor Search and Rescue Teams and Members were supported by Devon & Cornwall 4×4 Response to get teams deployed onto Dartmoor in a fast response.

Hill Parties were briefed about 2 missing individuals from a 55-mile Ten Tors team, last seen between Great Kneeset and Watern Tor on a training walk.

One of the members had fallen in the long grass, suffering from a lower leg injury and unable to continue the walk. The remaining members continued to get help. The leader of the group had raced ahead to get help but stopped somewhere between Great Kneeset and Watern Tor suffering from shortness of breath, dizziness and pains from the centre of the chest. Both injured members would be with team members from the 55-mile Ten Tors team who pitched tents as they waited for help.

At 18:35, the first casualty was located with a twisted ankle. Further support was requested for a stretcher party, additional oxygen and pain relief to evacuate the individual out of the valley below Great Kneeset. As further support was coming, the Team prepared the injured individual using splints to stabilise the lower leg injury and prevent movement during the extraction.

An additional Hill Party arrived after 19:10 to aid the finding team in extracting the individual from the remote area of Dartmoor and meet 4×4 Teams at the road head to regroup back at the Camp and hand over to Emergency Services at 21:00.

Meanwhile, additional Hill Parties were out conducting searches between Hangingstone Hill, Great Kneeset and Okement Hill. The second casualty was located at 19:20 and experiencing chest pains and shortness of breath. Aspirin and GTN spray were given to the individual to relieve chest pains and wrapped inside a Buff Bag to keep them warm.

All Hill Parties were requested to support the finding team in extracting the missing individual from the wet and difficult terrain within the remote valley near the Taw Head.

Together the 4 parties extracted the injured individual out of the valley and with the help of Devon 4×4 who supported the extraction back to the Camp and brought Hill Parties back to Control. The exercise finished at 23:20 with both casualties extracted after a successful night on Dartmoor.

A special thanks to Devon & Cornwall 4×4 Response for supporting us and providing vehicles throughout the night, thank you to Okehampton Camp for providing us with access to the Military Parade grounds, and to both our sister teams Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team – Ashburton and Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team – Tavistock members who joined us for the joint training exercise.