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    GeneralRESCUE OPERATION FOR INJURED FARMER

    RESCUE OPERATION FOR INJURED FARMER

    Quad bike accident on slopes of Slieve Muck

    By Lisa Ramsden

    A FARMER sustained serious injuries when his quad bike overturned on the slopes of Slieve Muck, near Atticall, on Monday.

    The local man and his dog were rescued during the major multi-agency operation which involved an Irish Coast Guard search and rescue helicopter from Dublin, the Mourne Mountain Rescue Team, PSNI and NI Ambulance Service (NIAS).

    Video footage shows the Sikorsky aircraft winching the local man onboard, after he had been stabilised by rescue team members and then carried further downhill to a suitable winching zone.

    The man’s dog escaped uninjured and was led to safety by police officers.

    Details of the incident – along with a video showing the helicopter’s winch-man being carefully lowered down onto the mountainside, were shared on the Mourne Mountain Rescue Team’s social media, during which it outlined how nine of its volunteers responded to the incident, which unfolded shortly before noon.

    Speaking after the incident, a spokesman confirmed police had requested the team “to assist a farmer, and his dog, who had suffered serious injuries as a result of a quad accident.”

    “Local police arrived on scene first and were able to confirm the exact location while NIAS and ourselves arrived shortly afterwards,” he continued.

    “Given the location, and potential injuries, we requested search and rescue air support with Rescue 116, from Dublin, deployed.

    “After stabilisation, the casualty was packaged and carried to a lifting zone and airlifted to the roadside.”

    The representative added that the farmer was then transferred into the care of paramedics and driven to hospital.

    The rescue team, whose volunteers were released from the scene at 3.50pm, have extended their best wishes to the local man, adding that they hope he has a speedy recovery.

    In relation to the incident, a PSNI spokesman added that officers from Newry responded to a report of “an overturned quad bike on Slieve Muck, nor far from Moyad Road.”

    He added: “Police attended and after a hike up the mountain we located the injured rider and provided initial first aid assistance. We liaised with the Mourne Mountain Rescue Team and directed their crews to the casualty. The Irish Coast Guard attended with their helicopter and transported the casualty to a waiting ambulance.”

    Wishing the farmer well, the officer added: “This afternoon was another brilliant example of a co-ordinated response from emergency services.”

    NIAS, which sent one emergency ambulance crew and an advanced paramedic to the incident, confirmed the farmer was taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast for treatment.

    Monday’s call-out was the first for the mountain rescue team since it directly appealed to the community to help find the £400,000 required so it can build a new and fit-for-purpose rescue base in Newcastle.

    Since launching the appeal, at the end of May, the charity has been “blown away by the level of support shown”, the MMRT spokesman added.

    He confirmed that in the first seven days, over £6,000 in donations were received, in addition to pledges of around £12,000, when the team revealed that if each of its 30,000 social media followers each donated £13.33 the shortfall would be easily overcome.

    “Thank you so much everyone. Of the £6,000 to date, most donations were for £13.33 – proving that it will be the collective community response that will help us reach our target.

    “So if you haven’t already done so and are able, please consider a one-off donation of £13.33, although other amounts are accepted!

    “We would ask people to keep sharing our appeal to get our campaign message out far and wide.”

    Team members are delighted with the response and say that their goal of developing their station, close to Donard Park and within the site Lidl has earmarked for its new store, is becoming a step closer.

    Spiralling costs have seen the sum required to make the team’s headquarters a reality rise from an envisaged £650,000 to around £1m.

    The local mountain rescue team explained that its plans for a new base in Newcastle have been in the pipeline for over a decade now.

    A location has been identified, thanks to land allocated by Lidl, within its plans for a new store neighbouring Donard Park, on the former St Mary’s Girls’ Primary School site.

    However, the plans for the new Lidl store and rescue base have been beset by planning delays.

    The rescue team explained that the delays have meant construction costs have risen and it has also lost out on two major grants.

    With planning permission just recently granted, the team hopes things have turned a corner.

    However, having lost grants totalling £1m, due to the delays, the team admits it now finds itself in the position where, without the community’s support, it will not reach the required amount needed to build its new base.

    Fundraisers and donors have already raised over £600,000 towards the project.

    “With a real opportunity to get on site in the not-too-distant future, we desperately need the community’s help to help plug this shortfall,” a spokesperson for the Mourne Mountain Rescue Team explained.

    “Our plan ‘A’ is to raise the funds and complete the build as intended without burdening the team with a significant debt.

    “If plan ‘A’ fails we may need to look at alternatives, albeit none are ideal.

    “We are beyond grateful for the support received to date and reluctant to ask for more, but we do need more help if we are going to achieve the new base we set out to deliver 12 years ago.

    “Any help whatsoever, from any source, will be gratefully received and take us a step closer to completing the project and establishing a rescue base for the region.

    “Whilst we are appealing for support, we are still applying for grant support, but options are very limited at present and currently unreliable,” the spokesperson added.

    The team has appealed for individuals, clubs, businesses and other local organisations to contribute whatever they can.

    If you would like to make a donation, or for fundraising ideas, log on to www.mournemrt.org/donate.

     

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