Reliability, Performance, Compliance


Flares help air ambulance crew find heart attack victim


Mountain rescue personnel fired flares so air ambulance crew could locate a Lake District walker who had suffered a heart attack.

Stephen Dunlop collapsed in May 2019 when walking up the Catbells Mountain, near Keswick, after experiencing sharp pains, reports the Great North Air Ambulance service.

He says, “I got to the top of the fells with my wife and I was taking photos when I started to feel unwell. It started with the pains, but I just passed it off as indigestion.

“We walk frequently around the Lakes, so this was really out of the ordinary. I thought I best get down so I stood up to leave and started to feel wobbly and thought there’s no way I can make it.”

His wife, Marion, tried to phone for help but had no reception. However, other walkers were able to call the rescue services.

She explains, “It wasn’t long until mountain rescue arrived, and they set off the flare to let the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) know where we were. They were here so quickly and landed not far from where Stephen had collapsed.”

Stephen says, “When GNAAS arrived, I was in a bad way and I was panicking but they managed to make me feel at ease straight away.

“I just remember them saying to me ‘it will only be 10 minutes’ which really reassured me and then before I knew it, I was at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle.”

Stephen found out in hospital that he had had a heart attack and underwent surgery to unblock his artery. Following this, he then caught pneumonia and had to return to hospital.

He says, “I am still not 100% but I am getting there. They told me at hospital I am a very lucky man and that’s exactly how I feel.”

Since his heart attack, Stephen has gone on to raise £750 for GNAAS. He says, “GNAAS is a brilliant charity and without them I would not be here.”

Stephen is hoping to return to his walking trips and said he is going to Keswick in the near future to pick up where he left off.

The image is a selfie taken by Stephen on the Catbells, just before he suffered the heart attack.

Feb 05, 2020