Emergency services’ response to Mournes incident praised

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Monday, August 7th, 2017

Councillor Jill Macauley, the Ulster Unionist Party representative for the Mournes, has praised the response of the emergency services to the major incident involving over 40 young army cadets and their leaders, who had been camping in the Mourne Mountains. 

Speaking to Newry Times, Councillor Jill Macauley said, “We have experienced some dreadful weather in the Mournes, but even so, it came as a shock to learn that a large number of army cadets required the assistance of the emergency services for injuries and hypothermia. 

“The incident centred on Slieve Binnian and as I visited the site, all the young people involved had thankfully been accounted for and the injured cadets were brought down to Annalong.

He added, “It is clear that the emergency services have once again done a sterling job, with the Police, Ambulance Service and Coastguard all working together to help those in difficulty. I have witnessed their professionalism and dedication at first-hand and pay tribute to them for their actions.”

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SDLP MLA Colin McGrath wished all those involved a speedy recovery. The South Down MLA said, “I hope that any of the young people who sustained an injury or suffered from hypothermia a full and swift recovery.

“I want to commend, too, the emergency service response to the unfolding situation. Like many local people in Newcastle we saw well over a dozen emergency vehicles pass in one hour and heard helicopters circling overhead. The response was swift and massive and certainly helped those in their time of need.

“The entire incident does underscore the importance of having full respect for the mountains and how weather conditions can change and worsen in an instant and how groups need to have rigorous safety/exit plans from the mountains contained in their planning.

“As a former Youth Worker I can understand that it is your worst nightmare having responsibility for other people’s children when things go wrong – but it is important to acknowledge even the best prepared plans cannot take account for swift weather changes.

McGrath added, “I would commend the Leaders for seeking the help they sought and staying with the injured to the very end of the incident.”

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