More Could Die Without Joined Up Rescue Bids 2009: John Grieve

More could die without joined up rescue bids

John Grieve has led rescues in some of Scotland’s most dangerous terrains, from snow-covered mountains to fast-flowing rivers.
But he fears that confusion over who is responsible for rescuing people in danger in inland water could eventually lead to tragedy. He looks back on the deaths of four anglers in Loch Awe earlier this year with some concern. Mr Grieve says that the Glencoe Mountain Rescue Team could have had a boat on the scene within three-quarters of an hour, but it was not called out. Instead a fire service rescue boat was summoned from Renfrew, but by the time it reached the loch its crew was only able to pull two bodies from the freezing waters. The two remaining bodies have never been found. In an exclusive interview with The Herald, Mr Grieve said: “Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Service said they had no statutory obligation to perform water rescues, although were happy to do what they could. “But what was really concerning there was that nobody thought to contact us. We have a rescue boat and could have been there in about three-quarters of an hour, much less than half the time it took to get the fire brigade’s rescue boat from Renfrew. “The problem was, it was a different police force. We work to Northern Constabulary so Strathclyde wouldn’t have known we had a rescue boat so near. We need somebody to co-ordinate. Somebody who knows what resources are where.”
Mr Grieve said that mountain rescue teams in the Highlands were only informed in the last few months that the fire and rescue services have had frontline responsibility for swift water rescues since 2005.

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