Two climbers airlifted off Wicklow mountain

 

Two climbers who were forced to spend the night in sub-zero temperatures on Leinster’s highest mountain are recovering at Tallaght hospital after they were earlier located by members of the Army Ranger Wing.

The two men, named in reports as Keith McDonald (32), from Dunboyne, Co Meath, and Pat Doyle (36) from Rathangan, Wicklow, were airlifted off Lugnaquilla mountain after an Army Ranger unit stretchered them to lower ground.

The men were well prepared for the freezing conditions but are believed to have suffered mild hypothermia and frostbite.

The men, who are believed to be in their early 30s, began climbing yesterday afternoon but became disorientated when a freezing fog reduced visibility at around 4pm.

Earlier, a Defence Forces spokesman said the two men were at the centre gully on the Lugnaquilla's South Prison cliffs.

He said members of the mountain rescue team and Army Ranger Wing went to extract the climbers by foot, but that visibility was very poor in the area. Members of the mountain rescue team reached the two climbers, while 16 members of the Ranger wing made their way by foot, he added.

The Glen of Imaal mountain rescue team co-ordinated the operation on Lugnaquilla in Co Wicklow, backed by Dublin and Wicklow mountain rescue teams. Some 50 members of the Ranger Wing, which has personnel qualified in arctic survival skills, also joined in the search this morning.

Two Air Corps helicopters, two Coastguard helicopters an RAF helicopter and a Garda helicopter also assisted in the search. Four helicopters, including the Garda helicopter and coastguard helicopter, were assisting in the search.

Glen of Imaal Mountain Rescue Team leader Ann Fitzpatrick said a search team from Wales also assisted.

Additional reporting PA