Thursday, July 25, 2024

Former Thurrock boxer found alive after massive mountain rescue mission

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.”

7 COMMENTS

  1. This sounds like a huge pile of old shit. I cannot be alone in thinking that this story just does not add up.

  2. As it happens I know members of that mountain rescue team. Location does not add up neither does the fact that he was found dry. Of course with skills like his he might have dried his gear on his fold down survival cloth horse.
    Don’t take away from all the hard work these mountain rescue guys do for FREE. Doing a day’s work than searching through the mountains all night for people after which they go and do another days work without sleep.
    Now I wonder who the real hero’s are?

  3. I’m a member of one of the four Mountain Rescue Teams that took part in this search.

    To be polite, there are a number of inaccuracies in this story.

    The seach did not finish until almost 3am on Tuesday morning and was resumed at 10am. It concluded just after 2pm, although it took at least another hour for the search teams to walk back to the control vehicles.

    While in the Beacons range the area cannot be described as mountainous. At it’s highest it is around 190m. A large part of the area is the Glyneath golf course.

    I believe that the landslide Mr. Walker fell was there the night before. His party described how he they had to face the slope and use their hands to steady themselves as he led them past it, in the dark, while carrying their camping equipment. Then they had to do it again as they were already lost and he had them retrace their steps.

    In the photos released by the BBC Mr. Walker appears to be bone dry, despite falling in to a river wearing a cotton Norge top.

    The area in which we believe Mr. Walker climbed out of the river and bivi’d for the night was searched by parties on both banks, a search team in the river, at least one air senting search dog and the RAF Sea King heli with it’s thermal camera. This gives an amazingly high probablility that he would have been found.If he had been swept further down river he would have had to walk through the village of Glyneath to reach Pontneddfechan, where he was “found” by the BBC TV crew.

    Assuming he did climb out where he claims he would have had to cross the riverside path he had just walked up and at least one dual lane tarmac’d road to reach Pontneddfechan.

    If Mr. Walker had been washed 8 miles downstream he would have been somewhere around the village of Resolven. At that point the river runs between the A465 dual carrageway and the B4242 old road. Either of which he would have had to cross to walk back upstream through the forestry.

    Unlike Mel Gibson in the Leathal Weapon movies, resetting a dislocated shoulder is very difficult and painful. Muscles go in to spasm making almost impossible to move the arm. It is very unlikely that Mr. Walker would have been able to do this himself.

    Mr. Walker claims he used his rucksack as a flotation device. Other than the fact that you are unlikely to carry a full burgen on a short recce, the Police recovered his bergen from his tent at the campsite and his party described him as wearing an assault vest without a bergen when he left the camp.

    Finally, at no time did Mr. Walker talk to a member of Mountain Rescue. He was not told that he would have died.

    Sorry for the long comment. These are only some of the inconsistencies in the story that have been identified by those who were involved in the search.

  4. As people seem so set on trying to make this happy ending something else, I would like to clarify a few points.
    Firstly, the landslide that A.N.Other refers to is not where I went into the river! I never gave a location of where it was nor was I given a map by anyone to show where it was, so how you can assume that that was the spot I described I don’t know!?
    Secondly you say that I was found in dry clothes, as my report describes I changed out of my wet clothes and into my waterproofs. If you ask the officer that was on the scene I’m sure he will tell you all my wet kit was strapped to the outside of my pack.
    You then say the area you believe I came out of the river had been searched… How do you know where I came out of the river? I don’t even know where I came out! I lost my map in the fall!
    I never said I got washed 8 miles down river, I said I walked about 8 miles back! I didn’t have a measuring device with me nor did I have a map so it was a pure guess! I could not follow the river back up due to the terrain, I had to walk in another direction through fields and bog. Please remember I had no map, my directions back were estimated!
    The dislocated shoulder – this is what I was told on my medical assessment was that they believed it had been dislocated and the weight of my pack had reset it. I ne’er said I reset it myself!
    I never said in my report that I was wearing a rucksack! I said I was wearing a PACK! This is easier to describe than saying an assault vest with a dry bag strapped to the back of it! Which can be clearly seen next to me on the news report! Being as it is a DRY bag, it is airtight and works as a flotation device!
    Finally, when I was with the news crew and police, one guy who spoke to me told me he was a member of the rescue team, I apologis for not asking for his ID to prove this.
    I fully appreciate the efforts of every person involved in the incident and would never take anything away from the job they volunteer to do.
    But if you insist on attempting to rip my account of what actually happened to me, please ensure you have ALL the facts and not assumptions!
    The one thing that kept me going through all of this was the thought of getting home to my girlfriend and 4 month old son!
    Why you assume my account is inaccurate is beyond me! As if to say this is not what happened? What possible reason would I have to lie about what happened to me???

  5. Steve

    Do you have mountain leader qualifications out of interest?

    Which regiment did you serve in?

    Thanks

    W

  6. “As people seem so set on trying to make this happy ending something else”

    Mate, the whole story seems like a load of happy ending to me.

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