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Man, 74, dies in icy mountain conditions.


POLICE warned walkers to take greater care on treacherous and icy mountains yesterday after one man died and rescue services faced a glut of calls over the weekend.

Sergeant John Roberts, of North Wales Police, in Caernarfon, said he is still surprised by the lack of concern some walkers show for basic safety guidelines on danger-ous mountains. In separate incidents in North Wales over the weekend, mountain rescuers were called out after a 74-year-old walker died and an ice climber was left with head and back injuries after falling 60 feet. In addition a woman was carried off Conwy Mountain on a stretcher after breaking her leg while out walking with her husband and friends. Cardiff Met Office said temperatures in Snowdonia had plummeted to around -3C (26F) when the windchill factor was taken into account. Sergeant Roberts said, ``It's often the case that people fail to follow basic safety guidelines.

``I'm not necessarily commenting on the incidents on Saturday, but people still tend to become too confident and ignore some of the basics. ``People should always check the weather conditions and go properly equipped.``Mobile phones are invaluable these days as well. Also you should tell somebody you are going and give them the time you are expected back down.''

The 74-year-old victim, Dennis Bees, of Glyngarth, Menai Bridge, in Anglesey, slipped while walking with two friends on a footpath on Glyder Fawr, above the Ogwen Valley, and was airlifted to Ysbyty Gwynedd, Bangor, before being pronounced dead on arrival.

Chris Lloyd, a spokesman for the Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue Team, said the man had not fallen any great distance, but was believed to have banged his head.

Mr Lloyd said, ``Our team was called just after 1pm to an incident where a 74-year-old man who was one of a group of three was found by his friends to have fallen to the ground.

``He had a head injury and had stopped breathing.

``He was on the footpath ahead of his two colleagues and they just came over the rise to find him on the ground.

``We don't know what the cause of death was.''

Mr Lloyd said the team of three were well equipped for the conditions on the mountain.

``They were reasonably equipped for a good winter's day walking. ``Conditions were very good, but it was icy and there was a bit of snow up there.

``It was a glorious day, but as far as we understand they were reasonably equipped.''

Rescuers on board the RAF Sea King helicopter from Valley, on Anglesey, attempted to resuscitate the pensioner on his way to hospital.

Hours earlier an ice climber was lifted to safety from a rock at Cwm Silyn, in the Nantlle Valley, after he fell around 60 feet.

The man's injuries left him in a semi-conscious state, though they are not thought to be life threatening.

Afterwards the Sea King helicopter returned to the same spot, where the injured man's climbing partner was stuck in freezing conditions, and handed him over to mountain rescuers unharmed.

Chris Lloyd's team were also involved in the rescue of a 54-year-old woman from Stoke-on-Trent after she slipped on frozen ground on Conwy Mountain and broke her leg.

The woman had been out for a walk with her husband and two friends and was suitably equipped for the conditions.

She was later taken to Ysbyty Glan Clwyd, Bodelwyddan.

Mobile phones aid rescuesSNOWDONIA is the scene of regular rescues as thousands of walkers are attracted to the world-famous mountain range.

The weekend before last, for example, was an even busier time for the rescuers, although they were involved in only minor incidents.

In May 2001, a text message was used in Snowdonia for the first time to locate an injured man. The 59-year-old, from Cheshire, who had become stranded, was rescued after text messages sent to his mobile phone led an RAF helicopter crew to where he was lying.

Mobile phones have long proved useful in rescue operations.

In January 2002, a 40-year-old climber from Hampshire who slid 300 feet down the Miner's Track, on Snowdon, was rescued by helicopter in a dramatic operation in failing light.

In October 2001, David Aitken, 53, from Stoke Newington, fell 100m into a gully from Idwal Slabs, in Snowdonia.

It is thought his life was saved when his arm became caught in a rockface crack as he fell.

In the same month, an 18-year-old student, Andrew McCluskey, of Hemel Hempstead, was left poorly in hospital after falling 65m from Bristley Ridge, on the Glyder Range in Snowdonia.

In October 2000, 15-year-old James Chambers died after a rock fall at Tryfan Bach in the Ogwen Va

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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jan 13, 2003
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