Cumbria police has issued a reminder that people need to stay at home during the coronavirus pandemic after a member of Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team was seriously injured at the weekend on a call out.
The team was called out in the early hours of Saturday to reports of a 47-year-old man from Leicester who had chest pains and who was camping on Red Screes, above Kirkstone Pass.
The 47-year-old man was with a second man from the Liverpool area. Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team was deployed and the man was taken to the Cumberland Infirmary by ambulance.
He was discharged from hospital on Saturday.
During the rescue, a 60-year-old member of the mountain rescue team fell 150 metres on rough ground.
He was rescued by colleagues and later supported by additional teams.
The 60-year-old man, was airlifted to Preston Hospital by a HM Coastguard helicopter.
He remains in hospital in a serious but stable condition.
It is understood he has suffered spinal and facial injuries.
Assistant Chief Constable Andrew Slattery, chair of the Cumbria Resilience Forum, said: “The thoughts of everybody at Cumbria Constabulary and agencies of the Cumbria Resilience Forum are with the rescuer who has been injured and his family.
“We are all hoping he makes a full recovery.
“The volunteers of our mountain rescue teams really are the fourth emergency service in Cumbria and their selflessness, dedication and professional training is called upon by hundreds of people every year.
“Mountain rescuers have been at the forefront of the county’s response to the COVID crisis, just as they are whenever the county faces civil emergencies or natural disaster.
“I have been in touch with the mountain rescue leaders throughout the weekend and we will do everything we can to support their members through this difficult time.
“Mountain rescue is inherently dangerous but accidents like this are thankfully very rare as a result of the preparation and training put in by every team.
“Sadly, those risks cannot be eliminated altogether. Accidents can happen to any of us who use the mountains and the men who called for help on this occasion could have had no idea of what was to happen.
“However, the Health Protection Regulations make it an offence to travel together and stay away from home overnight in these circumstances and to camp overnight on a mountaintop in winter conditions is a serious undertaking.
“The men concerned have been issued with fixed penalty notices of £200 which is the only legal penalty available in these circumstances.
“We would appeal to everyone to stay at home as much as possible, exercise locally, and stay well within the limits of their own experience and equipment when exercising in the outdoors.
“It is vital that anybody venturing onto the fells in winter takes note of the weather forecasts and mountain conditions before setting off.
“Now is not a time to be taking unnecessary risks as our ambulance service and hospitals are still under extreme pressure from high numbers of COVID patients.”