Well as 2015 draws to a slightly damp(?) close, Bay Search and Rescue have had the busiest year since it was formed in 1999, with the volunteer operational team members responding to 91 Incidents, totalling 312 hours, and attending 128 training exercises totalling nearly 900 hours...
Enroute back from the first callout of the day at the Moorland Fire at Darwen we were tasked by British Divers Marine Life Rescue and HMCG to check out a stranded 1.5m 80Kg Porpoise at Jenny Browns Point, SIlverdale at 18:35hrs. Despite the efforts of the local residents to refloat it, the porpoise unfortunately died shortly before our Hagglund got there, so we used the crane to lift it onto the vehicle and it will be passed on to investigators for a post mortem. Team finally stood down after cleaning vehicles at 22:45hrs. A long day...
On Friday the 7th of February we received a call from Lancashire Fire and Rescue to assist with a Large Animal Rescue at Overton near Heysham.
The request was sent via Fire Control for the attendance of ourselves and the RNLI hovercraft to give safety cover from the River Lune.
All three organisations worked as one for several hours, ever mindful of the impending high tide, utilising our specialist equipment, skills and teamwork, concluding the incident with the incoming tide lapping at their ankles and the safe extrication of the cow.
Watch Manager Martin Sherwood of Blue watch at Lancaster Fire Station coordinated rescue operations at the scene. “This is a prime example of how Statutory and Voluntary rescue organisations can work together to ensure the safe and successful conclusion of rescue operations.”
Morecambe RNLI hovercraft crew member Colin Midwinter said “This operation was an excellent example in demonstrating how the combined resources and expertise of the various rescue organisations can achieve successful outcomes under challenging circumstances.”
Not something you see every day... The Marine Mammal Medics we have on the Bay SAR team were called out by British Divers Marine Life Rescue on Sunday 12 Jan to recover a young grey seal who had been seen in a stream near Milburn, in-between Penrith and Appleby, about 50 miles upriver from the sea, and about 1 mile from the Pennine way!!
On arrival it was nowhere to be seen, so a bankside search was done by the Flood Rescue trained team members back downstream towards the River Eden 5 miles away. With no sightings and at dusk the search was called off and the team set off back to base over an hour away.
At Kendal a call was received to say the seal had been seen, unbelievably, further upstream. So we turned around and went back - in the dark. The seal was happily swimming in deep water and proved a challenge to catch, they are surprisingly aggressive and bite anything they can! But it was safely caught and then after checking and with the authorisation of the British Divers Marine Life Rescue advisors and the assistance of Furness Coastguard it was released off Walney Island back into the sea late in the evening.
408 Man hours (and lady hours) was put in by the team over the weekend. Over 300 litres of fuel used, in total we had 7 vehicles in Millom at different points 2 Hagglunds, 2 Land Rovers, 2 DAF Trucks to transport the Hagglunds and the team minibus/ambulance to bring in and out relief crews. The team 'lived' in Millom Fire station (hard floors!) and worked alongside Duddon and Furness MRT to bring out over 70 people from the A595 near Bootle, some had been trapped in their cars for many hours. The Hagglunds were the only vehicles capable of getting through to cars around Bootle, and at one point there were 24 people in Hagglund 3! The worst weather we have seen in the Lakes. Check out more photos in our galleries.
As well as being a long serving member of Bay SAR, Mike is also a Scout Leader, and in recognition of his efforts during the floods in Cockermouth he was one of 12 members of the Scouts in the UK to been honoured by the Scout Association for bravery on Boxing day 2009. Mike said, 'I was the driver of our all-terrain emergency response vehicle. We were responsible for checking the water levels on the main street, and evacuating people from flooded houses. It was a hard 26 hours but the things I’ve learned and done during my time in Scouting helped enormously.' Chief Scout Bear Grylls said: "these Scouts have shown great bravery and their acts are an inspiration to many"
After two local callouts; one on Thursday to help look for a missing person in the Floods at Ulverston, and one early on Friday to locate a person seen in the sand gullies on Morecambe Bay, the BSAR team were called to assist in the Cockermouth floods rescue effort.
As part of our new role assisting Cumbria Fire and Rescue, the teams Hagglund ATERV (all terrain emergency response vehicle) and Landrover Ambulance was escorted under blue lights to Cockermouth on Friday afternoon where the 8 strong BSAR crew worked alongside teams from all over the UK to help evacuate residents, and provide assistance to those wishing to remain in their houses. Initially in the raging fast moving floods, powerful boats were used. Subsequently as the water levels dropped and the amount of debris increased in and below the water, boats are less useful,but vehicles still cannot be used, so the Hagglund ATERV capable of carrying 18 people in warm, dry and relative comfort was a useful asset. The crews worked from arrival Friday afternoon through to late Saturday, catching bits of sleep in the vehicles in between tasks. The Hagglund was the last vehicle operating in the towns flooded Main Street at 1.30am Friday night, and the first vehicle back in at first light mapping the flood depth and perimeters.
Subsequently both our vehicles were tasked to the 'Gote' area on the far side of the river which had been completely cut off apart from by rescue boat since the start of the floods. The Hagglund again was the first vehicle into the area and spent the rest of the day evacuating residents, including a medical emergency case by stretcher, and ferrying in bridge surveyors and engineers. It also recovered dozens of computers holding vital medical records for a large proportion of Cockermouth residents from the flooded medical centre. The devastation was clear to see with cars thrown everwhere and roads and walls ripped apart by the force of the water. Koi carp, obviously from garden ponds were found by the team swimming in remaining flood water on the estate. As the flood levels dropped and other rescue teams could gain careful access on foot, the BSAR team were stood down and returned to base early Saturday evening after a busy three days.
Some images of the area - in our photo gallery, and we can be seen regularly on sky news reports. If anyone has photos of the team and vehicles we would be grateful for them for our records - we were a bit too busy to take many of our own! Email us
A busy few weeks for the team after all the recent heavy snow across Cumbria. Hagglund 1 and its crew has been working in and round the Grange over Sands and Allithwaite area transporting people around, helping recover cars and more recently assisting a stranded Asda delivery van. Hagglund 2 has been in and around Lindale and the Lyth Valley. The Landrover Ambulance and crew has been operating in Milnthorpe, across to Gatebeck and Crooklands, where amongst other jobs it assisted a stranded Ambulance and helped transfer an elderly lady by stretcher from her home so she could be transported to Lancaster Royal Infirmary
After many years of seeking the best tools for use in extracting trapped casualties from quicksand we have finally gone operational with our own unique solution. We can now safely and quickly extract people and animals trapped in quicksand in a matter of a few minutes, compared to previous times of up to half and hour or even hours. We have undertaken successful exercises with team members and subsequently demonstrated this technique and equipment to a number of South Lakes Fire Service crews. This has proved so successful that they have asked us to train some more crews early in the new year.