SELKIRK rescuers were among those to find a lost walker on Hogmanay using a tracking app.
Police called in Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue Team (TVMRT) at 3.30pm to search for the middle-aged man who was on holiday and became lost in Glentress Forest, near Peebles on Monday.
Seven of the 15 highly-trained TVMRT volunteers who mobilised following the man’s 999 call were from the Selkirk area.
The team’s Dave Wright said: “Although the police were in mobile phone contact with the missing person, he was unable to describe exactly where he was in the forest which covers an area of approximately 29km. Given the time of day, cold weather conditions and potential for the missing person to become a victim of hypothermia, we mobilised immediately. Team members split into small groups and carried out hasty searches of paths and tracks through the forest to no avail.
He continued: “At the same time as the initial searches, the team attempted to make use of a specialist Search and Rescue system. SARLOC has been specifically developed to help locate missing persons.
“The system works when a web link is sent by text to the missing person’s internet-enabled mobile phone.
“Once the link is accessed by the missing person, the application utilises the phone’s GPS to send the position to a secure website which is then accessed by the mountain rescue team.”
Because of only intermittent mobile phone reception in the forest and the period of time the man had been missing, the team decided to increase the number of rescuers on the search, adding to their team and the one search and rescue dog already on scene, said Mr Wright.
They were joined by eight members of the Borders Search and Rescue Unit and 13 from Moffat Mountain Rescue Team. Search and Rescue Dog Association (SARDA) Scotland and SARDA Southern Scotland provided a further three dogs and handlers to assist in the search. Strathclyde Police also sent in their helicopter.
But he said: “As the additional resources were travelling to the search area, the SARLOC system yielded a grid reference which allowed team members to locate the missing man at around 20:30.
“The missing man, who is in his early 50’s, was mildly hypothermic after spending several hours in the outdoors. He was checked over by the Scottish Ambulance Service who allowed him to return to the local hotel where he was staying.”
Also among the searchers was also a Cockermouth mountain rescue team member who was staying with a TVMRT member over New Year.
SARLOC was developed by Russ Hore from the Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue Team and is reported to have an accuracy of within about 100metres
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Weather for Selkirk
Sunday 26 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: South west
Temperature: 7 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 22 mph
Wind direction: South