Louth Civil Defence, Search and Recovery, January 2012
On Thursday 5th January, Louth Civil Defence was called out by Gardaí to assist in a search for a missing man in the town land of Lordship in the Cooley Peninsula.
A team of 10 volunteers with three vehicles were tasked to search in several locations, checking out any disused buildings and outhouses. The search was stood down at 5 pm and the team returned to Headquarters for refreshments. At 7.15 pm 22 volunteers and five vehicles resumed the search of the road network until 10 pm.
On Friday morning 6th January the search unit commenced searching with a team of 12 volunteers, assisted by the Meath Civil Defence search dog. The team searched the mountain region at the base of Annaloughan Mountain and the forested area at the back of the missing person’s home. The search ceased at 4.30 pm. Louth Civil Defence requested assistance from Meath and Dublin Civil Defence for volunteers to assist with the search on the following day.
On Saturday 7th January 11 search teams made up of 22 volunteers from Louth, 26 from Meath, 5 from Dublin and 3 members of a local walking club with local knowledge reconvened the search. The search was over a large area from the back of Annaloughan Mountain to Slievenaglogh and over to Ballygoly. The area was a mixture of rough terrain and a mountain road net work. At 11.45 am a member of the local walking club noticed some clothing and called in one of the Civil Defence search teams, who then took control of the incident site. Civil Defence volunteers checked the casualty for signs of life and decided that no further treatment was necessary. Civil Defence notified Gardai as to the situation and assembled a recovery team made up of Civil Defence Members from Louth, Meath, Dublin, members of the Gardaí and a member of the Coast Guard in case the helicopter was going to be used for recovery of the casualty remains. The Coast Guard helicopter was called away while on route and the recovery operation proceeded by hand over hand down the mountain to the Civil Defence 4x4 ambulance that was at the top of the track off the Rampark road. Members of the Coast Guard assisted with the last stretch of the carry out.
The search operation displayed how effectively that volunteer organisations can work together in confidence with each other, while carrying out difficult search and rescue operations in extreme difficult conditions. Civil Defence volunteers were fed by the locals in St Pats GAA club which was very much appreciated at the time.
The local community looked after the welfare of the searchers throughout the three days of searching and turned up in huge numbers to assist in the search and should be commended for their community effort. The Civil Defence team returned to Headquarters at 5.30 pm and proceeded to wash and clean all vehicles and equipment.
Civil Defence Officer, James McConnell was proud of all the volunteers that took part in the search from 5th -7th January. The Gardaí passed on special praise to the rescue team that carried out the recovery of the casualty remains in extreme difficult conditions.