Article Text

Download PDFPDF
UK mountain rescue casualties: 2002–2006
  1. Alasdair J Mort,
  2. David J Godden
  1. The Centre for Rural Health, University of Aberdeen, Inverness, UK
  1. Correspondence to Mr Alasdair Mort, Centre for Rural Health, University of Aberdeen, Centre for Health Science, Old Perth Road, Inverness IV2 3JH, UK; a.mort{at}


Objective To profile casualties of UK remote and rural sport and recreation rescued by Mountain Rescue Teams (MRTs).

Methods Anonymised data regarding non-fatal casualties recorded from 1 January 2002 to 31 December 2006 were retrieved from the Mountain Rescue Committees of Scotland and England and Wales.

Results Across the UK there were 6814 incidents involving 7995 people, including 550 fatal incidents. 3398 injured or ill casualties were assisted by rescue teams. Half of those rescued (50.7%) had no medical problems. 3152 casualty reports were available for analysis (Scotland 743, England and Wales 2409). The ages of those assisted ranged from 3 to 104 years, with a male predominance (60.8%). Hillwalking accounted for 75% of mountain rescues. More casualties were injured than ill (77.2% vs 10.4%). The injury reported most often was fracture (58.6%) and the lower extremity was most commonly injured (53%). Multiple injuries were relatively uncommon. The rescue scenarios in England and Wales and in Scotland were broadly similar. MRTs administered medication to more casualties in England and Wales (39.4% vs 14.5%). Helicopters assisted a greater proportion of casualties in Scotland (56.9% vs 40.5%).

Conclusions Volunteer rescue teams assisted a wide range of casualties including some with serious multiple injuries. The nature of casualty rescues undertaken in Scotland was similar to that in England and Wales. The results have implications for UK-wide rescue team training, medical professionals receiving casualties and for outdoor education safety initiatives.

  • Mountain rescue
  • UK
  • casualties
  • remote and rural

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Funding University of Aberdeen Sixth Century Fund and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (Inverness and East Highland).

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.