Fall Victim’s Miracle Rescue

Jan 12, 1993 | Archive

A dramatic rescue mission was put into operation at the weekend after a South Kerry farmer plummeted down a mountain where he lay injured and stranted in agony for a number of hours. And members of the Rescue Team involved have said that were it not for the alertness of the man’s neighbour – who happened by freak chance to witness him falling – the victim would have died from exposure.

Patsy Sheahan from Coombeatha, was herding sheep on a mountainside in the Ballaghasheen area shortly after lunchtime on Saturday when he lost his footing and fell down the mountain. The fall was witnessed by his neighbour, Richard Sheahan, who happened to be scanning the mountainside through a pair of binoculars at the time. The onlooker alerted the Gardaí and a major rescue plan was put to work.

A unit of the Kerry Mountain Rescue Team was joined by members of the Valentia Coastal Rescue Team in the testing rescue operation carried out under extremely difficult conditions. Local doctor Kieran O’Shea was airlifted to the mountainside by an Air Corps helicopter and he administered medical treatment to the badly injured man.

After a marathon rescue procedure, Mr. Sheahan was eventually stretchered off the mountain shortly before 10 o’clock that night and was taken by ambulance to Caherciveen before being transferred to Limerick General Hospital by helicopter. A hospital spokesperson last night described his condition as “very comfortable.”

Kerry Mountain Rescue Team member Louis O’Toole told The Kingdom that Mr. Sheahan – who is in his late 30’s and single – was very lucky to have survived. “Had his neighbour not spotted him falling we might never have found him as it’s a very remote area,” he said. “He would almost certainly have died from exposure and, as it was, he was hypothermic when we removed him from the mountain.”

Onlookers said Mr. Sheahan appeared to be in considerable pain when he was brought from the mountainside to Caherciveen. Over thirty people were involved in the rescue which was spearheaded by Kerry Mountain Rescue Team co-ordinator Tim Long.