Walker gets “dead body” shock during HART training exercise

NEAS rehearse fast-flowing water rescues across the North East

A concerned walker from Stanhope almost took a funny turn after accidentally wandering into a HART training exercise in November – and spotting what she thought was a dead body!

Catherine Porter came across what appeared to be a man’s corpse while out for a walk along the River Wear, near Stone Bridge.

Heart racing, she ran to get help, but stopped when she heard the chatter of helicopter blades above, and the arrival of some HART vehicles. Catherine contacted her local paper The Weardale Gazette to tell of the incident.

A spokeswoman for HART said: “We appreciate it must have been quite a shock to see what she thought was a dead body while out for a quiet, relaxing walk.

“It just goes to show how realistic these exercises are.”

The Hazardous Area Response Team took part in a number of exercises across the North East during November, involving the serious business of emergency rescues from fast-flowing water.

Water rescue two

Yannick Raimbault, NEAS’s HART and Resilience Manager, said: “This was a training event for new staff to qualify as Swift Water Rescue Technician. It was part of a week long course which took place in different locations, including Barnard Castle and Tees Barrage.

“There were a variety of scenarios. For instance, at Tees Barrage the team trained to rescue casualties from flooded vehicles stranded in fast flowing water.

“Realistic and complex scenarios allow emergency workers to put their training into practice – working together just as they would do if the incident was real.

“As a result of these exercises, we will be more experienced and better prepared for any serious incidents involving swift-flowing water.”

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