MOUNTAIN rescue volunteers walked for several miles checking A roads congested by the M62 closure for stranded drivers as Storm Emma caused chaos. 

Snow fell on Thursday (1st March) and kept going until Saturday (3rd March) when the Beast from the East made landfall causing heavy disruption to transport across the region.

A section of the M62 between Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire was closed as motorists were told to seek alternative routes and only drive if essential by Police.

But hundreds of motorists became stranded on the M62 and A roads as they looked for diversionary routes which led to severe congestion for miles.

Matt Nield, Team leader at Oldham Mountain Rescue Team said police tasked his team of around 50 volunteers to deal with the rescue of motorists in heavy snowfall.

“We were tasked in a number of ways – assisted casualties in a number of road traffic collisions caused by the adverse weather, including first aid and transportation to hospital.”

They were also joined by paramedics from the North West Ambulance Service whose vehicles could not access certain areas, “We obviously have four by four ambulances, in our case Land Rover 110’s,” Matt added.

Mountain Rescue
Credit: Call the Cops 999 (Flickr)

Matt and his team came to the aid of motorists stuck in their vehicles, many, already stranded for around eight hours, “Vehicles were completely snowbound – We evacuated a number of people on foot from such vehicles.”

But even some roads became inaccessible to them, “Our team members had to walk for several kilometre’s checking routes for stranded vehicles and occupants.”

The mountain rescue team also had to evacuate hundreds of cars and trucks stranded near Saddleworth.

“The main incident of the evening was assisting in the clearance and evacuation of the A62 Delph to Marsden route that had become badly snarled with blocked vehicles,” Matt said.

They were joined by nearby mountain rescue teams at certain points during the 2-day stint including the Bolton Mountain Rescue Team, Holme Valley Mountain Rescue Team and Glossop Mountain Rescue Team.

Rescue efforts didn’t stop until 3:30am on Saturday (March 3rd) when the majority of roads managed to reopen.

The Oldham Mountain Rescue Team is one of 48 charity mountain rescue teams across England and Wales and are funded by community donations.

Matt said: “It costs us approximately £40,000 per annum to run the team – that covers basic running expenses such as running our base, replacing and maintaining kit and our four vehicles.

“95 per cent of our income comes from donations from the public much of which comes from the local community – to that end we are very active in our community, its them that supports us essentially.”

If you’d like to donate to the mountain rescue team, you can on their JustGiving page.

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