The last few weeks have been among the busiest in the history of Mayo Mountain Rescue Team. Team leader Mary Walsh noted that since Reek Sunday, at the end of July, to September 7, the team have responded to 14 call outs. “It is unprecedented in the history of the team that we have had such a concentration of call-outs in the last number of weeks,” she said. Similar sentiments were expressed by deputy team leader Declan Conway, who remarked that in all his years on the team, he had never seen such a demand for its services.
Ten of these were on Croagh Patrick and involved full team participation to evacuate the casualties off the hill. The coastguard was involved in airlifting four of these casualties to hospital, having winched the casualties directly off the mountain.
In all instances on Croagh Patrick, the weather was wet and visibility was on many occasions poor. All the casualties on Croagh Patrick sustained their injuries when returning from the summit. These injuries tended to be lower limb fractures and dislocations requiring medical treatment before moving the casualty off the hill. Marie Lyons, medical officer with the team, stressed the importance of the ongoing training that all team members are expected to engage in to attain and retain competencies at the appropriate level of first aid. “As the first people to come in contact with the casualty, it is vital that we are in a position to offer effective and immediate first aid to the casualty.”
Other call outs that the Mayo team responded to included assisting people walk off the Ox Mountains, and working in partnership with Galway and Sligo-Leitrim Mountain Rescue teams.