SARDA handlers Catherine Kelly and Gerry Tobin carried out a joint exercise with Kerry Mountain Rescue Team on Wednesday evening. The exercise took place in the Slieve Mish mountains on the Dingle Peninsula and involved a scenario with a missing hill walker
Trained with KMRT last night. Kerry had set up a scenario whereby a walker had set out from Blennerville earlier in the day and had lunched near a landmark known as the iron man on Sliabh Mis. His intention was to continue from there towards Bertragaum, a high point to the west, and from there to return home by four pm. There was no sign of him returning and the exercise entailed a wide search of the area in the hope of locating him. We initially met at Castlemaine where I gave a briefing about the methods used to deploy the search dogs to the team and then we made our way to our assigned search areas with Catherine and Lilly and Dex and I coming in from the northern side along two re-entrants(gullies)running parallel to one another and separated by about a Kilometre. Other team assets were deployed along the route in both directions. After about an hour I gained the top of the ridge with Dex along with two navigators from KMRT ahead of other team assets and proceeded along the exercise casualty`s intended route. One of the KMRT members with me(Declan) spotted the location of the exercise casualty using binoculars. He was located to the south of the ridge (just off his intended route)along a piece of steep ground about a kilometre ahead of our position. The remaining team members remained in position and I proceeded ahead, sending Dex down the steep ground below the exercise casualty(wind from the north west)and “found” him safe and well. Catherine and I then rendezvoused back at the iron man spot height and made our descent in darkness with Piaras and Mike(KMRT members). A hard evening`s searching by both dog teams covered a huge expanse of hillside and showed the value of the dog teams in covering routes and open hill. The weather was very hot but the wind was good from the north west allowing us to eliminate areas to our right hand side as we proceeded upwards. The casualty was located to the south and would have necessitated a dog team searching to the south of the intended route which was one of a number of (our)suggested deployments when we consulted about tasking. Working with other teams can only benefit us and KMRT were anxious to make best use of the dogs and to learn as much as possible about our methods. Late home for everybody but a worthwhile and enjoyable exercise and a welcoming KMRT.