THREE Swindon mountain climbers on a charity mission helped save the life of a woman who fell nearly 1,000ft down Ben Nevis on Saturday.
Climbing instructor Brian Hall, 32, and Robert Bronsdon, 26, were with friend Dan Thain, 27, in his charity challenge when to their horror they saw a woman fall and slide down the snow into rocks at 2pm.
The trio quickly rushed to her aid and started tending to the 38-year-old and called for help from mountain rescue.
Brian, who runs climbing company Rocky Ventures and works at the Ridge Climbing Wall, at the Link Centre, said: “She skimmed across the snow like a rock across water. As we were sliding down towards her we thought she was going to be dead.
“As bad as this incident was she was very lucky that she hit the rocks as she would have flown off the edge of a mountain into a waterfall hundreds of metres down if she hadn’t.”
The woman, known to them as Fiona, suffered head injuries and a suspected broken pelvis. She was airlifted from the scene by Lochaber Mountain Rescue about an hour later, being taken to the nearby Belford Hospital, where she is still being treated.
The men took the woman’s shocked husband and friend down the mountain. Dan, who has ankylosing spondylitis, which is a condition that affects the joints, called off the climb – part of the Three Peaks Challenge which he was doing to raise money for National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society.
Dan, who lives in North Swindon and has already cycled 501 miles in aid of the charity, said: “The woman was in a bad way and we just reacted and did all we could to help. On reflection you realise just how scary it all was but that is not something that you think about at the time.”
The men are in touch with the woman’s husband and plan to keep in touch with them. She was taking on Ben Nevis as part of a charity challenge and the men are considering joining forces with her to take on the mountain again once she’s recovered.
An email sent to Brian yesterday from Fiona’s husband Kenny read: “She is getting a blood transfusion just now with another due tomorrow. She looks a bit better, and is talking away although very sore and struggling to walk due to pain. Looking to end of week to get out of hospital.”
Brian said that during the climb the men were surprised by how many people they encountered who didn’t have correct kit or enough supplies.
He said: “The woman was lucky it happened near us. We had a first aid kit and helped as much as we could with the casualty, her family and the rescue team.
“This was a very unpleasant situation but I was delighted with everything me, Dan and Rob did.”
To sponsor Dan’s fundraising efforrs visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/danielthain