Lost Snowboarders Found In Cross-Border Rescue

The two men missing in the Wicklow mountains overnight have been found alive.

They were recovered around lunchtime today after British military personnel joined their Irish counterparts in the search.

The specialist military personnel were airlifted onto the mountains to help local rescue teams already at work in locating the two missing snowboarders. Four helicopters and dozens of personnel drawn from the Irish Republic, Northern Ireland and Wales were all involved in the high-level operation on Lugnaquilla in Co Wicklow.

Some 50 members of the Irish Army's elite Ranger Wing - whose skills include Arctic survival abilities - had already been deployed, having been diverted from exercises in the Glen of Imaal military zone.

An RAF Sea King helicopter then flew in a specialist military rescue team from RAF Valley in Wales while an Irish Coastguard helicopter from Waterford also transported a civilian rescue unit across the Irish Sea from nearby Ogwen Valley.

It was unusual for British military personnel to get involved in an Irish mountain rescue operation.

"Our colleagues in Ireland requested our assistance and we are happy to help," said a spokesman for the RAF Rescue Centre at Kinloss in Scotland.

"It is very unusual, but when lives are at risk everyone with the expertise who can help wants to help.

"The RAF team is specifically trained and equipped for high Alpine rescue and worked alongside the Irish teams."

The Irish Defence Forces confirmed two Air Corps AW 139 helicopters were used to assist the Glen of Imaal Mountain Rescue Team and Irish Coast Guard in the now successful operation.

A major cross-border emergency plan had been put into action earlier today as civilian rescuers from North and South initially joined forces to hunt the missing 30-year-olds.

The pair were snowboarding on Lugnaquilla Mountain on Monday at about 4pm when they were stranded in a near zero visibility as freezing fog rolled in.

Having first lost their map they quickly became lost and disorientated and sent out an SOS, raising the alarm using a mobile phone about 9.30pm last night.

Mourne Mountain Rescue Team and the North West Rescue teams, both from Northern Ireland then joined the search.

They helped their opposite number in the Irish Republic and worked alongside the Dublin, Wicklow and Glen of Imaal mountain rescue teams and later, with the Irish army.

This morning, things looked grim as the Irish coastguard helicopter had already searched the mountain twice when difficult weather conditions forced it back down, leaving the missing pair in great danger.

The men were eventually located at an area known as South Prison: "The two men were located after 12.30pm in an area close to the summit," said a spokesman for the Irish Defence Forces' Operations Cell in the Curragh.

"An Air Corps helicopter immediately dropped medics and equipment to the scene.

"Members of the Army Rangers Wing and civilian mountain rescue personnel are currently assisting the men.

"They will be moved to lower ground and Air Corps helicopters are on standby to airlift them to hospital," he said, around 3pm this afternoon.


Related Irish News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

01 July 2009
Woman Dies After Mayo Mountain Fall
A woman who fell while climbing in the Mweelrea mountains in Co Mayo yesterday evening has died. Search teams in the Mweelrea Mountains in Co Mayo were called to the scene where the woman, who is in her 30s, fell on Ben Bury peak at around 6.30pm yesterday evening.
04 February 2009
Team Rescues Wicklow Mountains Adventurers
A number of people have been rescued from the Wicklow Mountains after getting stranded in the extreme weather. Rescuers located two stricken Dutch tourists, and brought them down from the Killakee Mountain in the early hours of this morning.
28 November 2011
Russian Sailor Search Moves To Shallows
The search for five missing Russian sailors is continuing after finding limited traces of the ship and crew and is now moving to a 'low water' search. The men were onboard the Swanland, a cargo ship that suffered 'catastrophic failure' and sank in gale force conditions in the Irish Sea on Sunday morning.
01 October 2007
Search For Missing Diver: Body Found
The body of a diver missing off the Co Galway coast has been recovered this afternoon. The 42-year-old man was with three colleagues diving close to the entrance of Killary Harbour. They raised the alarm when the man failed to surface. Coast Guard, rescue teams, and the Garda diving unit were involved in the search operation.
16 May 2008
'Large Irish Presence' At Cannes
The focal point for the Irish film industry at the Cannes Film Festival, the Irish Pavilion, has opened again for business this week, with over 200 of the leading lights of the Irish film industry flying out to the festival to promote and sell new Irish cinema.