A Dublin woman died from injuries she sustained after slipping into a ravine while climbing Mweelrea Mountain in south Mayo on Tuesday evening. The woman who was named as Margaret Sweeney (50 ) from Annaville Park, Dundrum, Dublin, was the mother of three grown up children.
Ms Sweeney was climbing Mweelrea, Connacht’s highest mountain, with her husband when she slipped and fell 60 feet into a ravine on the mountain. Her husband used his mobile phone to raise the alarm after 6pm and Mayo Mountain Rescue was dispatched to the scene from Doolough and arrived at the scene at around 9.30pm. Ms Sweeney was located at about 5.30am on Wednesday and she was airlifted to Mayo General Hospital in Castlebar when the rescue team reached her.
Dick Harnedy of Mayo Mountain Rescue described to the Mayo Advertiser the 18-hour rescue operation which took place after he received the call at 6pm on Tuesday.
According to Mr Harnedy the team, who were assisted by Galway Mountain Rescue, went straight to work. They arrived at Mweelrea at 7.20pm on Tuesday and the first response team set up the mountain where they met the woman’s husband.
“He had left where his wife had fallen to get a phone signal and had become disorientated by the fog that was on the mountain but gave us the best information he could as to where she was.”
The fog, which had been hampering the operation, lifted at around 10pm enabling the group, which had split into three teams, to work their way towards where they thought the woman was trapped. However, at 5.30am the woman was still not located but with the assistance of the coast guard helicopter the woman was found soon after despite rescuers having to negotiate difficult terrain.
However it was several hours before rescue teams were able to remove the casualty to Mayo General Hospital, where she was later pronounced dead.
Mr Harnedy thanked the efforts of his team, Galway Mountain Rescue, the coast guard helicopter, local farmer Patrick Jordan who joined in the search, and Delphi resort which provided food for the rescue team on the night. He also offered his and his team’s condolences to the family of Ms Sweeney.