MOORLAND rescuers saved a man in one of their most difficult ever missions.
Volunteers from the Hepworth-based Woodhead Mountain Rescue Team saved an injured man who had tumbled part way down a 200-ft ravine in the darkness.
And they had to call in the RAF to help lift the walker to safety from what expert rescuers described as “the most inhospitable terrain”.
The area where the man had been found was exceptionally inaccessible, driven by the steep ravine and overgrown vegetation, including rhododendrons. It would have proved almost impossible to extract the casualty using normal techniques.
Veteran Woodhead Team member, Ian Winterburn, said: “This has probably been the most inaccessible location of any rescue I have ever been involved with.”
Team spokesman Scott Roberts said: “It was a very bad place.
“The man had tried to climb over a drystone wall but the wall collapsed, landing on top of him and sending him into the ravine.
“There was dense undergrowth, thorn bushes and rhododendron and it took our expert rope men some 45 minutes to abseil down to where he lay injured.”
The drama unfolded on Wednesday, when two walkers became lost after setting off from Edale in the Peak District to walk part of the Pennine Way.
The two men, both aged 46 and from Chesterfield, were fully equipped with warm clothing, torches and maps but became lost near Ewden Bridge, near Stocksbrdge.
One of the men then fell and they called 999 at 6.12pm to raise the alarm.
Mr Roberts said: “We had a team on site within 25 minutes even though it was about 1½km off the road.
“It became obvious that it was going to be a very difficult rescue.
“We abseiled down to the injured man but we could not lift him back up or get him down to the foot of the ravine.
“We were being helped by South Yorkshire Police and the Yorkshire Ambulance Service and it was agreed to call in the RAF.
“They sent a Sea King helicopter from Leconfield and the man was winched up by them at about 11pm.
“He was transferred to an ambulance and taken to Northern General Hospital in Sheffield, where it was found he had tissue damage to his leg.
“The second walker was very cold but uninjured and Woodhead volunteers walked him off the moors.
“It was cold, wet and very dark but, thankfully, no-one was seriously hurt.”