February 29, 2020
News

Peak performance: South Eastern Mountain Rescue complete 500 callouts

The South Eastern Mountain Rescue (SEMRA), which has been assisting people getting into difficulty in the Galtee and Comeragh Mountains for over 40 years, has just responded to its 500th callout.

Founded in 1977 following a light air craft crash in the Galtee Mountains when members of different hillwalking groups came together to form a rescue group, SEMRA has now grown to 50 members all living in the south east, which enables them to provide a prompt response to all of the mountains in the region, and sometimes beyond.

Last Sunday, January 19 was a momanteous day for the group at the end of a busy week South Eastern Mountain Rescue, (SEMRA) received their 500th callout since the team was founded in 1977.

From humble beginnings the group now has four team vehicles (three- 4WD and 1 mobile base), a dedicated group base building – which is currently being extended to include a training room, a paging system for call outs and top of the range rescue equipment.   Long gone are the days of knocking on doors of those living close to mountains seeking information.

It was a busy weekend for SEMRA who first assisted Cahir Gardai in the search for a missing man in Toureen Woods early on Friday Morning – their 499th callout.

The 500th callout came on Sunday when SEMRA assisted an injured walker from Galtee Mountains near Cahir.  It was not long until the 501st callout, when on Monday morning when they were called by the Gardai at 10.15am to assist a female walker high above Cumshingaun Lake in the Comeragh Mountains who had fallen and suffered a serious leg injury. SEMRA helped Rescue Helicopter 117 winch the woman off the mountain.

Over the years SEMRA has worked and trained with the Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 117 based in Waterford and have built up a strong working relationship.

A spokesperson for SERMA said: “The service provided in responding to 500 callouts over the last 43 years would not be possible without the support of their families who let them go at all hours of the day and night.

“SEMRA are very appreciative of the support received from hillwalking clubs, running clubs, local businesses and the general public.  Without their support SEMRA could not provide a search and rescue service. SEMRA cover the mountains of the South East including the Blackstairs, Brandon Hill, Ballyhoura Mountains, Knockmealdowns, Comeragh Mountains, Slievenamon and the Galtee Mountains.”

SEMRA are currently recruiting new members. If you are an experienced hill walker and would like to know more send an e-mail to semrapro@gmail.com.

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