Six Irish people rescued from highest peak of Arctic mountain

Six Irish people rescued from highest peak of Arctic mountain

The climbing party were recovered from summit of  Kebnekaise from the Scandinavian mountain range. File picture.

Six Irish people have been rescued from the highest peak in Sweden, located within the Arctic Circle.

Climbers faced difficult conditions and temperatures of -10C but, despite this, some were still dressed in shorts and t-shirts, according to the President of the Swedish Mountain Rescues National Organisation.

Richard Svedjesten recalled the rescue which, he said, are quite common at this time of the year.

Kebnekaise, the highest peak in Sweden, has a peak of over 2,000 metres (almost 7,000ft). 

Mr Svedjesten told RTÉ radio’s Today show when there was very good weather during the day but climbers faced severe cold and windy conditions after dark.

The biggest problem was when people were not prepared. 

“Bad equipment and bad clothing” contributed to the issue, he said.

The rescue of the Irish party from the summit of Kebnekaise had to be deferred to first light on Monday as conditions had been too cloudy for the rescue helicopter, he explained.

All six of the group were rescued off the summit of the mountain by helicopter on Monday. 

The group travelled up the mountain yesterday morning and reached the summit. Mr Svedjesten said weather conditions worsened on their journey down and the group got separated.

The alarm was raised by a phone call from the group.

There was very good mobile phone coverage throughout Sweden, he said, including on mountain ranges.

No preparations taken

“Everybody makes this mistake,” Mr Svedjesten said of the group who went walking up the mountain without the proper equipment or clothing. One of the party was reported to be dressed in shorts.

People did not always check the weather forecast before going on such outings, he said.

Mr Svedjesten recommended that Irish people check the website of the Irish Mountain Rescue service before attempting any mountain walks or hikes.

Every such trip should start at home by checking equipment, being prepared and letting people know where they were going.

The six people are said to be in good condition but were waiting for medical assessment.

No age or gender breakdown was immediately available but he confirmed they were all adults.

In recent weeks, the Kerry Mountain Rescue Team has spoken out about the challenging rescues it has had to conduct on Ireland's highest peak.

Last Monday, it reported 16 rescues had been conducted in August already, and a further three have taken place since. 

The group urged people to "get serious" about safety on the mountain. 

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