The scene at Errigal last night [Donegal Mountain Rescue]
A TEACHING STUDENT was airlifted to hospital last night after falling around 30 or 40 metres from near the summit of Mount Errigal — Donegal’s tallest mountain. Another young man escaped with more minor injuries.
Donegal Mountain Rescue received a call-out at around 7.20pm last night, and it was almost four hours before the rescue operation was wrapped up.
The two students from St Patrick’s College in Dublin were in the county to take part in a course at a nearby Irish college.
They were on the 751-metre mountain with around six other students, but had arranged to depart from the main group, who were at a lower point on the hill when the accident took place.
One of the two young men, from Monaghan, was quite badly injured in the fall — sustaining bad gashes and bruising and suffering a suspected dislocated shoulder.
The other student, from Leitrim, also suffered cuts and bruises, but had a phone with him and was able to make an emergency call.
“The Rescue 118 from Sligo was first at scene,” Donegal Mountain Rescue’s Joe Brennan said.
“They identified where he was — isolated on what was an area of scree between two outcrops.
“They couldn’t lower a stretcher to the scene, so a decision was made to take two of our crew up to the casualty.”
A DMR vehicle and a HSE ambulance were used to close a section of roadway at the base of the mountain as the helicopter landed. Two mountain rescue crewmembers were then taken on board and flown to the summit, where they were winched down to the injured teenager.
As that operation was carried out, another group of DMR members equipped with a stretcher made their way on foot to the scene of the accident and began to assess the student.
[Donegal Mountain Rescue]
The team then moved him to a lower part of the mountainside that was accessible to the helicopter.
He was treated at the scene, secured to the stretcher, and then airlifted from the mountain by around 9.45pm, Brennan said. He was taken for treatment to Sligo General Hospital.
The other student was able to walk back off the hill with the assistance of the mountain rescue team, and arrived back in the car park by around 11pm.
Brennan said the two men had told the rest of their party where they were going, and said the fact that they had a charged mobile phone with them meant they were able to contact the emergency services immediately after the accident happened.
“It just shows you have to be prepared for the worst when you go out on the mountain.
“Accidents can happen really suddenly or weather can turn in matter of minutes — so think in terms of a longer stay: think safety, think footwear, think a bar of chocolate and a bottle of Lucozade; think warm clothes and decent footwear.”