Two men stranded in the MacGillycuddy Reeks in Co Kerry, in fading light on Wednesday, were brought to safety later that evening by the Kerry Mountain Rescue Team.
Earlier this month, after a number of call-outs, the team issued a strong warning to hill walkers about the danger of being caught on the mountains in changing weather conditions and shortening daylight hours.
Two Australian visitors, who were not injured, were at the centre of the latest callout and raised the alarm at 4.30pm on Wednesday. They were lost in a remote area on the eastern side of the Reeks, as they descended, and used a mobile phone to call for help.
A 20-strong rescue party made voice contact with them at 6.30pm and that led the party to search around the Coimín na Péiste ridge, where they found them an hour later.
Using powerful search lights, the party assisted the men down steep ground and they were reported to be well after their trauma. The search operation finished at around 10pm.
Kerry Mountain Rescue, meanwhile, has emphasised that one of the key things at this time of year is not to be caught out by reduced daylight. “Never venture into the mountains alone and always plan to be down from the mountains before dark,” said rescue team spokesman Damien Courtney.
He said it was important people had the necessary skills and equipment, including waterproof clothing and good footwear.
They should also check the weather forecast and plan accordingly.
He said it was also essential to have a mobile phone when venturing onto the hills as it provided a means of not only raising the alarm, but also of giving an indication of location to the emergency services.
Meanwhile, there has been a call for security on Ireland’s highest mountain. It follows the hacking down of the large metal cross on the summit of Carrauntoohil sometime before last weekend. People-counters installed over a three-week period recorded that as many as 4,563 people had climbed the Reeks, a council meeting was told.
An emergency motion at the meeting of the South and West Kerry Municipal authority in Killorglin yesterday afternoon condemned the damage to the 38-year-old cross and heard calls to have the perpetrators brought to justice. Rangers to patrol the busy mountain should now be considered, even on an occasional basis.
The meeting also heard there were security concerns about dangerous dogs being allowed loose on the mountain worrying sheep, and that in the overall context of security, CCTV should now be installed in car parks serving the mountain.
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