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Lancashire walkers swept away while crossing swollen river
TWO walkers were swept hundreds of yards downstream when they tried to cross a swollen river.
The two men, in their 50s and 60s, eventually managed to drag themselves to safety on the opposite bank.
The drama, which occurred at Langden Brook, near Dunsop Bridge, in the Trough of Bowland, sparked a major rescue operation.
A team of more than 20 mountain rescue volunteers, ambulance crews and police were called to the scene by the two men to save four of their friends still stranded on the other side of the river.
The men had attempted to cross the river south of Langden Castle, at the end of a day’s ramble.
They were knocked off their feet by the thigh high water just before 6pm on Sunday, and carried downstream before being able to grab on to the opposite bank.
After climbing out, they walked half a mile to the nearest house, where they called the police and Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue team for help.
Phil O’Brien, from the mountain rescue team, led the operation to the remaining three men and woman across the water.
He said: “There had been a lot of rain in a short period of time and the rivers and streams in the area were quite swollen.
“The group of six well-equipped men and women, who were from the Fylde and South Ribble areas, had been out all day and didn’t want to retrace their route, so opted to cross the river.
“Two of them were swept off their feet to the opposite bank, but luckily managed to climb out after being swept some distance down the river. They walked half a mile to the nearest house in Langden where they contacted the police.
“When we arrived in our Land Rovers, we quickly established that the other four were ok.
“To help them cross the river, we used specialist rope techniques and swiftwater rescue equipment.
“All of the walkers were checked over, treated for hypothermia, and walked to the nearest track where two team Land Rovers were waiting to collect them.”
He added: “We believe that the walkers used proper tactics to cross the river, in that they grouped together and walked, but they were unfortunate.
“Of course, if you can avoid crossing water, then we always advise that.
“The men who were swept away were lucky.
“With water there is always a risk of things being much worse.”
Michael Counter, chairman of the North East Lancashire Ramblers Association, warned people thinking of walking the route: “It’s not the sort of walk for day trippers.
“You should be experienced and well-equipped.“