The team was called at 18:52 on 31st March to a The Duke of Edinburgh's Award party of seven youngsters who had got into difficulty on the Pennine Way while traversing over Black Hill.
The party were reporting one member with a leg injury and had split up - with a group of two staying with the casualty and the remaining four descending off the Hill to Crowden.
Holme Valley MRT mobilised at Holme Moss Car Park with Woodhead Mountain Rescue Team and sent two fell parties to the casualty site with a stretcher and medical kit. Upon locating the casualties, however, they discovered that two members of the party were unable to walk and were both requiring stretcher evacuation. All three had wrapped up and protected themselves from the elements, but were still on exposed, remote moorland in sub-zero conditions with driving wind and snow.
HVMRT then requested an S92 helicopter from theMaritime and Coastguard Agency to attend the casualty site, while deploying a vehicle to Crowden to use blue lights to guide the four youngsters in who were descending from the hill, and pick them up on arrival. These four arrived presently, and were checked over before being conveyed back to their overnight accommodation.
Throughout the next hour, the S92 helicopter made repeated attempts to access the moorland casualty site from all directions, but were unable to approach due to poor visibility and prevailing weather conditions. They withdrew and remained in the area to provide assistance if the conditions improved. Meanwhile Oldham Mountain Rescue Team and Glossop Mountain Rescue Team were requested to attend, bringing with them more team members and equipment to help with what was now looking like being a very long evacuation of two stretcher-bound casualties and one "walking wounded", through very poor weather conditions.
The evacuation of the casualties then began on foot, slowly progressing towards Black Hill. Transport got easier as equipment and much needed reinforcements from Oldham and Glossop teams reached the hill parties and assisted with the carry. At 01:38, the first walking casualty was successfully evacuated from the hill and warmed up in a Land Rover before being reunited with her mum at Holme Moss summit.
By 02:00, both stretcher parties had reached Black Hill summit, and the S92 helicopter, having been to Manchester to refuel, returned to take advantage of the lifting cloud-base and approached from the North, finally accessing the MR personnel on the hill at 02:18. The final two casualties were airlifted at 02:30 and evacuated to hospital in Sheffield with two MR medics, to be checked over.
All MR members were off the hill and all equipment recovered by 03:30 - and transport was arranged to bring two MR medics and equipment back from Sheffield, finally reuniting them with their vehicles at 05:30, and which point we concluded the incident and went home to bed.
A massive thanks to all teams and agencies who were involved in the rescue, and a very well done to the seven youngsters on the DofE expedition, who under the circumstances did everything right - and were unfortunate victims of circumstance. We hope they are all recovering well.