Missing walker found safe on Carrauntoohil after search

Polish man (41) has been taken to hospital suffering from severe cold and exposure

The man made an emergency call from Carrauntuohill on St Stephen’s night

The man made an emergency call from Carrauntuohill on St Stephen’s night

 

A missing climber who made an emergency call for help from Carrauntoohil, Ireland’s highest mountain, late on St Stephen’s night was rescued and taken to hospital in Kerry on Wednesday.

The 41-year old Polish man living in Ennis, Co Clare, was winched to safety by the Shannon-based Sikorsky search and rescue helicopter on Wednesday morning.

He was found high on the area of Carrauntoohil known as The Bone over the Hags Glen and had been walking alone.

Valentia Coastguard, which co-ordinated the search operation which resumed at first light on Wednesday, said he was an experienced climber.

He had rung the emergency services at about 8pm on St Stephen’s Day and communication had been “poor and limited”, Alan Wallace of Kerry Mountain Rescue said.

The man had intended walking for a number of days and had set out on Christmas Day to walk the mountain which has a heavy covering of snow.

He was first believed to be in the Black Valley, lower down the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks.

The Shannon-based search and rescue helicopter, which was doing a sweep of the area, spotted him walking alone and he was taken to University Hospital Kerry suffering from exposure.

Difficulties

Meanwhile, on St Stephen’s Day also, three other men summoned help after getting into difficulties in two separate incidents on the mountain.

One man in his 40s had reached the summit of Carrauntoohil. The man who is understood to be from Kerry was assisted down the mountain but had become severely chilled and had to be taken by ambulance to University Hospital Kerry.

Nearby two men, in their 30s, believed to be from Kerry and west Limerick, became stuck on steep ground between the summit of Carrauntoohil and the Devil’s Ladder area.

Wind, white-out and snow and icy conditions on the mountains in Kerry were “challenging” even for experienced climbers, Mr Wallace said. He has strongly urged people to stick to lower ground.

“There are plenty of lower-level walks, valleys like the Hags Glen which are spectacular but without the hazards,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mount Brandon in west Kerry, which is also popular for walkers at Christmas, is hazardous with ice and snow, climbers have reported.