Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Army cadets rescued Mourne mountains expedition

 Almost 70 people, including children, were rescued from an expedition in the Mourne Mountains on Wednesday when they got into difficulty as a result of increasingly bad weather conditions.

The group of army cadets – aged from 12 to 17 – and their mentors from the Cleveland Army Cadet Force in Middlesbrough were on an adventure training exercise near Annalong when the emergency services were alerted shortly after 11am.

A major incident was declared by the Ambulance Service, who tasked almost 20 crews to the scene.  Assistance was also provided by the Mourne Mountain Rescue Team, PSNI, Irish Coastguard Rescue 116 helicopter and Coastguard rescue teams from Newcastle, Bangor and Kilkeel.  The Coastguards helicopters based at Caernarfon and Prestwick attended although were grounded for a time due to the bad conditions.

Five casualties suffered minor leg injuries while a number were treated for the effects of exposure, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) said.

All members of the group were safely removed off the mountain and the MoD said it was “exceptionally grateful” for the assistance of all the emergency services.

SDLP MLA Colin McGrath said the incident “will surely highlight the need for extreme caution” when walking in the mountains, particularly when weather conditions “have been atrocious on street/town level never mind up in the mountains”.