14 August 2021

Lots of communication about cave rescue, but not much action

 When I came home from the second leg of the Slate Trail, I really wanted to sit on my bum for a few days. I had really been on my feet long enough in the past six days! But then something happened that challenged that plan. It was only Friday 10 AM when I got an email saying that there was a report of a sheep stuck down a mine. It wasn't yet a callout, but it could clearly turn into one. And it was clear there was no hurry; that sheep seemed to have been there for days already, and one hour more or less wouldn't make a particularly big difference. I reluctantly indicated I was around to help if needed. It's not as if I had planned an awful lot that day! And with cases like this, it is not unusual that one or two people who happen to live nearby just sort it and no further help is needed. I hoped it was a case like that. And it was! No callout followed; just an email saying that the sheep had indeed been brought out by someone who happened to be around. Excellent! I could continue my sitting on my bum session. And I even got several friends dropping by to join my inactivity. 

When my phone pinged again on Sunday I couldn't believe it when it was cave rescue again. This time there was mention of actual people in underground trouble. That requires a bit more haste and urgency than a sheep underground. Two actual calls to start travelling towards the venue came; one for people who could make it by a certain time to Porthmadog, from which a helicopter would bring team members to the venue, and another one for people who could make it by their own transport to the actual venue by a later time. I thought I had no chance making it on time to Porthmadog. A pity! If it is urgent enough for a helicopter, then there is someone in need and it is nice if you know you can do something about it. I did think I could make it to the actual venue, though; however, before I got anywhere near, the message already came we were stood down. Good news; that meant that the casualty or casualties were at the surface, and there was nothing more for us to do. I returned home and had some dinner…

I later saw that the BBC website made mention of this incident. It looks like it was mainly mountain rescue who got them out, although the cave rescue knowledge was very useful. That's great! And I wish the casualty who was transported to hospital all the best.

It's a bit weird to get 1 1/2 callout within the space of three days! Unfortunately, this does not mean that now we will get a long period of no action. Statistics doesn't work like that. But I do hope that for the foreseeable future, we will only have to get together for trainings…

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