The Sligo Leitrim Mountain Rescue team
Two missing people were located adjacent to the mountains at Ballygawley and walked to safety on Monday 1st September following a call out alert to Sligo Leitrim Mountain Rescue Team from An Garda Síochána. The incident follows a pattern of increased mountain rescue incidents throughout Sligo and Leitrim.
“This latest rescue underlines the increasingly high incidences of call outs the Team have responded to throughout the summer and can be linked directly to the surge in numbers of people walking and hiking in the region,” stated Team Leader Ciarán Davis.
“A couple in their sixties had become disorientated as darkness fell having left the Sligo Way Trail near Slieve Dargan Mountain on Monday evening, the 1st of September. They dialled 999 and the Team was immediately tasked with locating and evacuating them. The alert commenced at 2030hrs and by 2130 we had dispatched 12 team members and two vehicles to the search area.
"We split into a number of search groups and quickly located the missing couple’s car. We were then able to reduce our search area and utilised an emergency location tracking facility to pinpoint the missing couple’s phone. Following a coordinated search, we located them in dense woodland at 2400hrs. Thankfully they were unharmed and we were able to walk them back to their car.”
“We are now regularly carrying out rescue operations in areas which never previously featured in previous events,” continued Ciarán.
“Whilst we are glad to see the large numbers of both visitors and locals enjoying the magnificent landscape of Sligo and Leitrim, we are appealing to people to walk within their comfort zones. With autumn fast approaching and the evenings closing in, this is not really a time for adventurous excursions that test your abilities and limits. And, for the foreseeable future, all of the emergency services remain under operational pressure due to the ongoing Covid-19 precautions.
"Every time we are called out, we have to take extensive precautions and have to carry out significant cleaning and disinfection of all of our equipment, all of which can be very time consuming, both in terms of personnel hours and resources. We fully understand that the public is becoming fatigued by Covid-19 precautions but for the emergency services they are an ongoing operational issue which we have to comply with.”