Galloway and Moffat Mountain Rescue Teams have had to respond to aircraft crashes in the past, so an exercise to test their joint response on Cairnsmore of Fleet last Saturday certainly created some activity on this popular hillside.
Ken McCubbin, exercise co-ordinator, said: “The scenario we created was that a light Cessna aircraft, flying from Carlisle to Prestwick, crashed between Cairnsmore of Fleet and Knee of Cairnsmore. The impact was heard by walkers on tge hillside at around 10am and the police were called.”
A total of 28 members from the two teams attended the exercise and were deployed after a briefing by search managers at Galloway base in Newton Stewart. Access to the hillside by 4x4 vehicles was made possible with the combined resources of three Land Rovers and a VW Transporter Synchro.
Ken added: “As the exercise unfolded, the search teams on the hill located the crash site and discovered the pilot and co-pilot, who both showed no signs of life, but discovered a third seriously injured person and subsequent information suggested that a fourth person had survived the impact and wandered off in a daze.
“This necessitated an extensive ‘line search’ with additional support from a search dog-handler and her dog. After scouring the hillside for some time, the injured person was found by ‘Troy’, our search dog.
“Exercises such as these are essential to practise search and rescue techniques which we are not often called upon in reality. Thankfully, tragedies like this don’t occur too often, but rescuers need to hone their skills to ensure they respond appropriately when the need arises.”
For more information about the voluntary activities of Galloway MRT including an album of pictures taken during the exercise, visit www.gallowaymrt.org.uk.