Schoolboy in ‘miracle’ rescue from mountain

Rescue: Volunteers from Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team help winch the boy to safety
Rescue: Volunteers from Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team help winch the boy to safety
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A 10-year-old boy had a ‘miraculous’ escape after falling 160ft off the side of England’s third highest mountain.

The boy, who has not been named, but is from Preston, was climbing Helvellyn in the Lake District with his father on Sunday when he slipped on a steep slope covered in ice.

He tumbled 164ft down the ridge of Swirral Edge before landing on a ridge.

The boy had suffered suspected pelvic and head injuries but was conscious when paramedics arrived.+

Crews from Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team scrambled to the scene and were airlifted to a nearby ridge by the Great North Air Ambulance.

They then clambered towards the youngster and helped winch him to safety on a vacuum mattress.

Martin Cotterell, of Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team, was the first on the scene.

He said: “We got a report at 3.30pm that a boy had fallen from one of the ledges on Helvellyn.

“The report said he had fallen and wasn’t moving.

“Myself and a colleague got airlifted in the helicopter, together with a doctor and paramedic.

“The four of us landed on a ledge relatively close to where he landed, and managed to walk across to where he was.

“I got there first and was very pleased to see he was alert and talking, although he was groggy.

“We have had people fall from similar heights and not make it.

“He’s had a very lucky escape, and it seems like he has managed to get away with relatively minor injuries.

The youngster and his father were taken by a Sea King from RAF Boulmer to Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.

The boy was released from hospital yesterday afternoon.

The Swirral Edge route up Helvellyn is popular with walkers and is one of ways of getting to the Red Tarn area of the mountain, which peak rises 950m above sea level.

The route is mainly for experienced walkers carrying specialist equipment such as ice axes and crampons when conditions are bad.

The weather on Sunday was clear and sunny although there was snow and ice on the ground.

Mr Cotterell said conditions were good although specialist clothes and equipment were needed.

He said: “At the summit there is ice and snow on all the ridges and you need specialist equipment to safely navigate it.

“It is steep and very exposed.

“It is a fantastic day out if you have got the right equipment and experience.

“It is just about taking the right route for the conditions.

“It was a sunny day and fairly cold and there was hard snow and ice under foot.”

One eyewitness said: “We saw the rescuers being ferried in by helicopter and cross the cliffside to them.

“Then (we saw) the RAF helicopter waiting to take them away, but then we had to make our way back before it got dark.

“The RAF helicopter passed over shortly after we’d set off.

“I’m very glad to hear he survived the fall. They were very worrying scenes and he must be one extremely lucky young boy.”