National Police Air Service (NPAS)

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Police rescue woman stuck in the mud


Police have rescued a woman in her 70s who was walking on Dartmoor and managed to get trapped in a bog.

At about 1.45pm on Saturday 11 January police received a call from a woman who said she was stuck on the moors.

Mobile phone reception was poor and it was not clear initially where she was or why she was stuck. After several calls it became evident she was stuck in mud and things became more serious when she was heard to say: “It’s now up to my...” and then the line dropped out.

After a lot of rapid enquiries, including requests to mobile phone providers, it was established at about 2.15pm that the woman was not far from Brent Tor, north of Tavistock.

The police helicopter was deployed as well as officers from Tavistock and Okehampton, and at 2.42pm the helicopter crew spotted the woman and directed officers to her.

With assistance from a family of farmers, a ladder and an old door, officers managed to reach the woman and slowly extract her from the mud.

PC Adrian Taylor, an air observer for the National Police Air Service, said: “When we were called to assist we knew we needed to find her quickly as she was very distressed, cold and uncomfortable.

“Without the assistance of the helicopter, officers could have searched for hours without locating her.

“The woman was completely stuck, up to her waist in thick mud, and unable to move. She was in the course of a small river and had simply sunk into an unexpectedly deep section of mud.

“The depth and consistency of the mud was very unpredictable and clearly hazardous in places.”

By 3pm the woman was safely back on solid ground and the farmers helped further by allowing her to shower and dry off at their home, and even providing her with fresh clothes.

The woman suffered no serious injuries, just bruising as a result of her ordeal.

PC Taylor added: “As an experienced walker, she was well equipped for most occasions but was very unlucky to get trapped as she did.

“The incident does serve as a reminder that even experienced, competent walkers can get into difficulties very suddenly on Dartmoor.

“Fortunately she had a mobile phone with her and it was in an accessible place so she was able to reach it and call for help.

“The rescue was a fantastic team effort with assistance from the police helicopter, officers on the ground and the local farmers.

“The officers who got her out were all very muddy by the end but we are thankful it was a happy ending.”


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In an emergency always dial 999