LONDON -A couple fell more than 400ft from England’s third highest mountain and survived thanks to a rescue team that were training nearby.
The married pair, thought to be from Herefordshire, were trekking the 3,117ft Swirral Edge on Helvellyn - one of the more challenging walks in the Lake District. Reports suggest the husband was the first to slip and lose his footing during the climb on Sunday, falling almost 420ft down into Brown Cove.
Moments later his wife tumbled down the ridge after she tried to stop him from falling. It is thought she fell even further, tumbling down the rocky mountainside and eventually coming to a stop 500ft below.
Another walker witnessed the terrifying events and phoned the emergency services. Luckily, a group from Patterdale mountain rescue were taking part in a training day nearby and were on the mountainside within minutes.
The 13-strong team, who were later joined by two other rescue teams, worked to save the couple as darkness fell. An RAF Sea King helicopter from Boulmer, Northumberland eventually airlifted them to Cumberland Infirmary. Remarkably, neither have life-threatening injuries, with the wife suffering just cuts and bruises and the husband only minor neck injuries.
He added: ‘It is really quite remarkable they were not far more seriously injured considering the distance they fell.’ He said he couldn’t say if weather had been a factor, but added conditions on the high fells were wintry at this time of year. He also urged people adventuring in the Lakes to take winter walking equipment with them, including ice axe, crampons and torch. Helvellyn is the third largest mountain in England, according to Hills in England, Wales and Ireland over Two Thousand Feet (Hewitts). Nearby Scafell Pike and Scafell are first and second at 3,200ft and 3,162ft respectively. Ben Nevis is the largest in the British Isles at 4,409ft