Two 17-year-old scouts rescue expedition leader during trek in Alps

Scouts Brian McGrath, son of leader, and Sean Hoban with the injured Mick McGrath.

Two 17-year-old Irish boys became heroes when they rescued their own scout leader who had fallen and been injured during a trek in the Alps.

One of the scouts traversed along a glacier and descended a cliff face unaccompanied on his way to raise the alarm.

Ferrybank Scout Group from Waterford was taking part in an 11-day excursion in the Austrian mountains when the expedition leader Mick McGrath fractured his ankle on the summit’s descent.

Unable to walk any further and without mobile phone signal, scouts Brian McGrath (his son) and Sean Hoban who had accompanied him on this stretch of the journey, devised their own rescue operation.

The pair strapped his leg and applied ice to the injury before Brian went in search of help across the remaining part of glacier to the next hut, which was two hours away.

Meanwhile, Sean put his “survival skills into action” and “bedded in”, in case they were going to have a long wait for help to arrive.

Scout leader Kelly Hall said that “they applied layers of clothing to insulate them from the elements, started building a shelter using rocks, they also took into account food and water situation and prepared a marker in case of aerial assistance”.

Ms Hall said that the group are “extremely proud of the boys” and how they put their scout training from simulated exercises into practice during the real-life emergency.

Brian traversed along a glacier, descended a cliff face where he got a signal on his phone, contacted emergency services and gave grid reference to the location.

Once he had made contact, he continued along another glacier and descended further down to a mountain hut where he raised the alarm again.

A mountain rescue helicopter arrived at the scene and lifted the injured leader to hospital.


Put provenance first this season and make 'Made in Munster' the label to be seen in. With outstanding craftmanship and commitment to quality, these homegrown designers are making Munster-made fashion wish list worthy around the world. Shopping local has never looked so good. Carolyn Moore reports.Made in Munster: Shopping local has never looked this good.

Karen Cunneen-Bilbow Owner, Fabricate IrelandMade in Munster: ‘I turned my hobby into a business’

An invitation is extended to all to pay a visit to Bride View Cottage, writes Charlie WilkinsSeasonal cheer will spread early in Co Cork as an invitation is extended to all to visit Bride View Cottage

After a week of Fortnite Chapter 2, we think it’s fair to say Epic lived up to their name with the game’s ‘re-launch’.GameTech: Happy after a week of Fortnite Chapter 2

More From The Irish Examiner