Mountain rescue teams tasked to 408 incidents in last year, 21 of which involved fatalities

Mountain rescue teams tasked to 408 incidents in last year, 21 of which involved fatalities

The Kerry Mountain Rescue Team during an operation near Carrauntoohil last summer. Picture: Kerry Mountain Rescue Team

Mountain Rescue Ireland dealt with a total of 408 incidents in 2021, which resulted in 21 fatalities.

Mountain Rescue Ireland represents 11 mountain rescue teams made up of about 400 volunteers operating in different locations around the country, including Northern Ireland.

According to the organisation’s annual report, its volunteers clocked up a total of 14,405 working hours over the course of last year.

Some 291 of the incidents volunteers responded to occurred in the daytime, with the other 114 taking place at night.

Thirty nine of the incidents resulted in a major injury to those involved, and 170 involved minor injuries.

Air and sea rescue helicopters were tasked in 86 instances, while volunteers themselves actively took part in 50 search operations.

Fourteen of the incidents last year involved foreign tourists.

A spokesperson for the group said "incredible volunteer work" had been undertaken by all of the individual mountain rescue teams.

“Thank you to all the volunteers who make up Ireland's mountain rescue teams and who gave so much time and energy last year to help people who got into difficulty on hills and crags. 

"Your commitment really is much appreciated.”

The Kerry Mountain Rescue Team, which covers the upland areas of Kerry and Cork, dealt with 68 callouts in 2021 – the highest number since the team was established in 1966.

A spokesperson said 2021 “saw huge numbers of people out and about, particularly in the summer months”, leading in an increased number of incidents, most of which related to slips, falls and lost parties.

The team stressed that the majority of the others were the result of "a significant number of poorly prepared and ill-equipped parties on the hills".

"While it is fantastic to see the increase in popularity of mountain sports in recent years, we would strongly advise people new to the mountains to ensure they research their chosen activity well in advance and employ the services of a guide or join a club to learn the skills required for a safe and enjoyable adventure," the spokesperson said.

The team urged anyone planning an excursion to take heed of all of the safety information and tips on its website before setting off into the hills.

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