INCIDENT IN THE COMERAGHS -- REMINDER AS TO THE RISKS ON THE MOUNTAINS
On Saturday last whilst ascending at the back of Coum Eag in the Comeraghs we had an incident resulting in a serious injury to Patricia O’Connor, one of our members. Whilst ascending up a grassy slope a large rock was dislodged from on high and rolled downhill striking her on the lower leg. Thankfully everyone else managed to avoid being struck. Once everything settled down it was obvious from her pain that she had suffered a serious injury, most likely a fracture/break in the ankle. Initially we treated her for shock,(shaking, vomiting sensation, breathing), which she recovered from in a short time thanks to excellent care from the members present. Having assessed the injury, the weather, the surrounding terrain and the experienced members present it was determined that we should evacuate her off the mountain ourselves. We improvised a stretcher from walking poles and a fleece, dressed her in additional layers of clothing to keep her warm and proceeded to descend the mountain stopping at regular intervals to give the bearers rest. Once down she was driven to Cork when they established that she had suffered a fractured ankle. We wish her a very speedy recovery.
From a personal viewpoint, a big thanks to all who assisted on the day – people remained calm, assessed the situation, decided and implemented a course of action. Special thanks to Colin, Tommy, Declan, Ger, Tony, Michael and Louise who executed the carry-out.
There are lessons to be learned here. There are constant dangers on the mountains and we must remain vigilant at all times. Accidents can and will occur from time to time. We must be constantly assessing situations and be aware of any risks to ourselves and to others.
In this particular case, when ascending a gully, no matter what the risk, it is better for the group to stick close together thus lessening the risk of being struck by falling rocks. In particular, at this time of the year rocks, loosened by snow and ice can become unstable.