12 volunteers from Galway Mountain Rescue Team (GMRT) took part in Sunday’s operation on Croagh Patrick that saw hundreds of pilgrims ignore safety warnings not to climb the Mayo mountain.
The annual event’s cancellation due to the weather conditions was the first in living memory, and the day saw around 12 pilgrims require treatment for hypothermia, including a three-year-old girl.
While on the mountain on ‘Reek Sunday’, GMRT assisted one male who was experiencing difficulties on steep ground and escorted him to the medical tent for assessment.
“Conditions in the morning were extremely poor and for a time it was deemed unsafe to deploy teams to the highest stations on the mountain,” explained a spokesperson for Galway Mountain Rescue Team.
Shortly after 1pm GMRT deployed to the second highest station on the mountain. Weather conditions improved somewhat with the winds abating but despite this the visibility remained poor and it remained wet and cold.
As well as assisting one male climber, while on the mountain GMRT also monitored and provided reassurance to pilgrims undertaking the climb.
“Numbers were considerably lower than previous years due to the official cancellation and the weather conditions. This is fortunate given that a high volume of casualties requiring stretcher evacuation would have posed a significant challenge in the absence of air support,” said the team spokesperson.
The Galway Mountain Rescue Team is a voluntary organisation providing an emergency response service, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Volunteers receive no compensation of any kind for their work. To make a donation, visit www.gmrt.ie.