Girl is Saved on Mountain

Sep 13, 1972 | Archive

A holiday nearly ended in disaster for a young Dublin girl when she stumbled and fell on loose stones on the Devil’s Ladder on Carrauntoohil, Ireland’s highest mountain. It took Kerry Mountain Rescue Team five hours to bring 17-year-old Marie O’Connor of Ballyfermot to an ambulance. Marie went to Carrauntoohil yesterday with her 17-year-old friend Philomena Murphy of Rathfarnam. They were joined by Vincent O’Reilly of Terenure and Eckarot Gunther, a German.

The two boys left the girls at the top of the Devil’s Ladder and continued on to the top of the mountain. The girls were told to wait for their return before making the descent. However the girls, who were inexperienced climbers, began the descent before the boys returned. About 2.40pm Marie slipped on loose stones and rolled down the hill, coming to rest against a large boulder.

Philomena went to her friend’s aid as quickly as she could. “Marie’s face was covered with blood” she said later, “I didn’t know what to do. I bawled.” Earlier, an English cleric from Manchester had passed the girls on his way down. He heard Philomena’s cries for help. He went back up the Devil’s Ladder and made Marie as comfortable as possible and then went off to call the Rescue Team.

The Team assembled at about 5.15pm and returned with the girl strapped to a stretcher at 11.30pm last night. Rita O’Connor, a member of the Rescue Team, and a nurse by profession, went to the mountain with the team, and gave first aid on the Devil’s Ladder and supervised the transfer of the girl to the ambulance. She travelled in the ambulance to the County Hospital, Tralee, with the injured girl, who was suffering from extensive facial injuries.