A MAJOR search and rescue operation took place in County Durham last night (Saturday, November 10) after ten walkers lost their way on the Pennine Way.
The group had been walking a circular route from Dufton in Cumbria but got lost and ended up in a remote area between High Cup Nick and Cow Green Reservoir in Upper Teesdale.
Darkness had descended and one walker had suffered an ankle injury and was unable to walk.
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Thankfully, at around 9pm, four members of the group found their way to Cow Green Reservoir, where they gained a mobile phone signal and were able to call for help.
Teesdale and Weardale Search and Mountain Rescue Team quickly launched a rescue mission, with the help of Durham Police, a helicopter search and rescue team from RAF Boulmer and six mountain rescue members from other teams who were training in the area.
Steve Owers, deputy team leader, said: “They were initially unsure where the rest of the party were but after speaking with a team member we were able to establish a possible location 5km West of Cow Green dam.
"It took team members another hour to find the six missing walkers.
“They were very cold and some were suffering from mild hypothermia.”
The walkers received medical treatment at the scene and several members of the group were flown to hospital, where they were treated for non-life threatening injuries.
The rescue team left the area at 2.30am.
Mr Owers said the group had been wearing the correct walking gear for a day in the Pennines.
“They were actually doing a circular walk in Cumbria but somehow got lost and ended up on the County Durham side of the Pennines,” he explained. “As time went on they got colder and colder and then a member of the group hurt themselves, which slowed them down further.”