Costa Blanca South News

Mountain rescue helicopters deployed 20 times last year

HELICOPTERS run by the fire brigade took part in 20 mountain rescues during 2017.

More and more people are attracted to the outdoor pursuits and especially climbing and hiking in the mountains around Orihuela, Callosa de Segura and Redován

Many see the some of the highest peaks in the Vega Baja region that can go above 600 metres in places as an adventure and a challenge, but they can also be dangerous if certain precautions aren’t taken.

A number of the walks and slopes require specified knowledge, training and techniques using specialist equipment and really should only be undertaken by professionals.

Fire and rescue authorities believe that if more precautions and a higher degree of pre-planning had taken place, the number of rescues would have been less.  Too many of the expeditions aren’t planed to end before nightfall and when it gets dark it leaves those most exposed disoriented and trapped.

The last rescue in the area took place at the start of December when two mountaineers were trapped 150 metres up, and because of the strong winds at the time, the helicopter couldn’t get close enough and had to drop off the rescuers some distance away to complete the operation on foot.

The rescue helicopter is based in San Vicente del Raspeig in the Alicante province and once the alarm is raised can be on the scene in less than 40 minutes at any point.  The team consists of 16 rescuers, although the intention is to increase that number to 25, and they are always backed up by the fire services from Orihuela, Torrevieja and Almoradí when the service is called out in the Vega Baja.

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