Dawn Rescue for Stranded Mountaineer

Jul 10, 1977 | Archive

The Kerry Mountain Rescue Team spent more than 12 hours some 3,000 feet up on Ireland’s highest mountain, Carrauntoohil, before making a daring rescue shortly after dawn yesterday. The rescue was made in the area where a Dutchman was killed last year and where only a few months ago a local sheep farmer died after a climbing accident.

The man, Paul Curran, born in Dublin but now living in England and home with friends for a holiday, had to be brought up from an almost inaccessible position by rope. Mr.Sean O’Sullivan, who led the rescue, told the Sunday Press that Mr. Curran set off at 11am on Friday morning with a Mr. John Starke. When they were on a ridge between Carrauntoohil and Beenkeeragh, about 3,000 feet up, they realised that they had taken the wrong ridge.

“Mr. Starke started to retrace his steps but, in doing so, dislodged some stones and Curran was left stranded at the top of a gully with a 400 foot drop below him. Starke managed to reach Mrs. Mary Cronin at the Hag’s Glen, who got in touch with us, and with Michael and Paul Walker I set out on the rescue mission.”

Mr. Starke guided them back on the mountain path but became exhausted. “We had to put him in a bivvy bag to protect him from exposure and leave him on the mountainside while we carried on” Mr. O’Sullivan said. Fog, mist and rain hampered them, Mr. O’Sullivan said. The actual rescue was not easy. “We had to take it very gently. He was below us when we spotted him and Paul Walker went down to him on a rope. Michael acted as anchor man and we got him up. We fed him with glucose tablets and took him back to Mrs. Cronin’s at the Hag’s Glen, where he got tea.”