Mountain rescue volunteer injured rescuing Lake District walker
Pictured: Mountain rescue volunteer, 60, who suffered a damaged spinal cord after plunging 500ft while trying to rescue walker in the Lake District who was breaching lockdown rules
- Chris Lewis, 60, fell 500ft down a steep slope on Saturday’s rescue call-out
- Mr Lewis suffered facial fractures and damaged his spinal cord in the steep fall
- A fundraising campaign has been set up to help his recovery and rehabilitation
- The Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team was helping two Lake District campers
- The two men from Leicester and Liverpool were fined for breaching lockdown
A mountain rescue volunteer suffered life-changing injuries when he was called out to help campers breaching lockdown rules.
Chris Lewis, 60, from the Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team was severely injured while on a call-out to Red Screes above Kirkstone Pass in the Lake District in the early hours of Saturday February 6.
A fundraiser has been set up to after he damaged his spine and fractured his face when he fell 500ft down a steep slope.
He was part of the rescue team called out to help a 47-year-old man from Leicester who was camping in the Lake District with another man from Liverpool.
The and his companion were fined £200 for breaching Covid travel restrictions after breaking lockdown rules to go on the camping trip.
Chris Lewis, 60, (pictured) from the Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team was severely injured while on a call-out to Red Screes above Kirkstone Pass in the Lake District in the early hours of Saturday February 6
The casualty was rescued from the mountain and taken to hospital with chest pains, but recovered quickly.
The incident prompted a heartfelt plea from the mountain rescue team who begged for people to stay home and abide by the rules of the national lockdown.
One of their team members said their colleagues injury had affected them all and wellbeing checks are in place for all the mountain rescue volunteers.
Patterdale team member Mike Blakey, who is also operational lead for the 12 rescue teams in the Lake District, said after the incident: ‘I cannot stress enough the message to stay at home during lockdown.
A fundraising drive has now been launched to help Mr Lewis, who suffered multiple facial fractures and damaged his spinal cord during the 150m fall down a steep slope
‘This rescue, and the subsequent life changing injuries incurred by our team member, were avoidable.
‘Rescue team members are volunteers who train extensively to rescue others in the most atrocious weathers and inhospitable places.
‘However the risks are always there and the impact of an incident like this is far reaching across the rescue and emergency services family.’
A fundraising drive has now been launched to help Mr Lewis, who suffered multiple facial fractures and damaged his spinal cord during the fall.
The money raised will go towards the 60-year-old’s recovery, rehabilitation and care.
The chairman of the Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association Richard Warren called Mr Lewis’ fall the ‘worst accident’ he had ever seen in 50 years.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Mr Warren said: ‘I’ve been in mountain rescue for a very long time and this is the worst accident I have seen in the last four decades, it really is hitting people hard.
‘But the support is fantastic and we want to pass our thanks to everybody who has sent messages of support.’
He described Mr Lewis as a ‘fantastic guy’ and said after he was airlifted to accident and emergency the first thing he asked was how the other casualty was.
Patterdale Team Leader Mike Rippon added that the catastrophic injuries suffered by Chris Lewis had hit the entire team.
The mountain rescue team were on a call out to save two men camping in the Lake District. THe pair were fined £200 for breaching lockdown rules
He said: ‘It has been significant. In the last seven days or so we have tried to assess the team’s morale, mental wellbeing and how it has affected everybody.
‘We’ve put things in place to allow people to reach out about what they’re feeling as a result of the incident.
‘These things don’t come out in people overnight so we’ll have to monitor things for the foreseeable future.
‘We are a team of dedicated volunteers and like everyone in mountain rescue we give our time freely, we go out and rescue people at the drop of a hat.
‘It is unfortunate that in this case these people were breaking lockdown rules.
‘The outpouring of sympathy has been humbling and the funds raised will go to Chris for the long term, they will be for his future.’
A statement on a JustGiving page set up to raise funds added: ‘Chris is one of 40 volunteers in Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team, from all walks of life and a wide range of ages.
‘The team typically responds to approximately 70 incidents a year, usually, but not always, with less tragic consequences.
‘The severity of Chris’s injuries cannot be overstated and he will need significant support for the rest of his life.’
To donate to the crowdfunding effort, click here.
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