Former Thurrock boxer found alive after massive mountain rescue mission
Date posted: 29-08-2012
A former THURROCK-based army veteran and fitness instructor had to use all his survival skills after a dramatic night on the Welsh mountains which led to a massive mountain rescue search.
Steve Walker,(34), a fitness instructor at Fitness First in Romford, took a group of walkers into the Brecon-Beacons at the weekend.
It is believed that Mr Walker became separated from his group after one of the group struggled with demands of the challenges.
The alarm was raised at 6.45 pm on Monday evening. Over 40 volunteers searched the area until 1 am in the morning.
The volunteers were joined by rescue dogs as well as an RAF helicopter.
The search resumed next morning but later that morning an injured Mr Walker emerged from the mountains.
Mr Walker was taken to hospital and returned to his home in Romford soon after.
Steve, who used to fight out of Spartans gym in Corringham, has given his version of events.
He said: “I took a group hiking in Brecon Beacons. We had completed the horse shoe including Pen-Y-Fan on Sunday, but one of the group struggled quite a lot. This caused the trek to take a couple of hours longer than expected.
“We got back to the minibus and drove to the next location where we would be camping. We parked up and started walking to the next spot, which was only a kilometre away. The sun had started going down so we had to move quickly, but once we got into the forest it instantly became dark. We pitched up in the nearest spot we could find.
“Next morning (Monday) I instructed the group to stay put while I did a short recce on the area to find our exact position. Very shortly after I set out, I was walking along a path around the side of a cliff. It had been heavily raining during the night and the ground suddenly gave way beneath me causing a landslide. I dropped downwards and hit some boulders at the base of the cliff.
“This threw me into the river. I was wearing my pack and this caused me to go downstream face down. I managed to take my pack off and put it in front of me to use as a flotation device. The river was so fast there was no way of fighting it.
“Eventually when it slowed I managed to scramble out. I had injured the whole left side of my body when I hit the boulders, ankle, knee, hip, collar bone and shoulder. The strap on my map case had snapped in the fall so I had lost that downstream. My first priority was to get warm, so I got out of my clothes and into my waterproofs that were in my emergency kit. My leg was too injured to walk so I pitched my Basha (waterproof sheet) and got out of the rain. I later saw the helicopter sent out to find me, but it was miles away and even with me shining my torch at it, they had not seen me.
“The next morning (Tuesday) I knew I had to find away back to the area so tried to follow the river back upstream to where the helicopter had been searching. Some of the terrain was impassable so I had to divert around it in another direction.
“Without a map it was all guess work. Eventually after trekking through fields and bogs, I reached a trail that took me back to the town where we started. I had walked about eight miles with injuries.
“Where I came out on the trail, the BBC news crew were waiting and called the ambulance and police. The injuries I sustained are a sprained ankle, torn crucia ligament in my knee, muscle damage around my hip area. I had also upwardly dislocated my shoulder in the fall which had reset itself under the weight of my pack.
“Mountain Rescue told me if I hadn’t taken the actions that I did, I would have died that night.”