The Team's assistance was requested by Dyfed Powys Police, to once again help in the ongoing search for April Jones. ASART was deployed to search an area of often heavily overgrown woodland, just north of the town of Machynlleth; a task which took until the early evening to complete.
Floss taking a breather during a long day of deployments
For the past 6 days ASART, along with many other teams, has been deployed in the search for April Jones, conducting searches by foot and by canoe. Members of the team have also continued to work as navigators for search dog handlers and their dogs, and others have played a significant role in the planning and organisation of this huge operation.
Today the team continued in the massive search operation to find April along with 24 other teams and other agencies from all over the UK. With the search operation moving on, the Search and Rescue Teams will now stand down and specialist Police search teams will take over. The operation to find April is by no means stopping but purely moving into a new phase, and all of the teams will be ready should their expertise be required once again. The support the public has been giving the teams over the past 6 days has been phenomenal and has had a positive impact on team morale during some challenging times. All of the team would like to thank you for your encouragement, and also to say a huge thanks to the people working long hours at the leisure centre, keeping us fueled-up so we could keep going out and doing what we needed to do.
This statement from Mountain Rescue England and Wales, issued on Sun 7th Oct. gives the wider perspective:
'On Tuesday morning [2nd Oct.], Dyfed Powys Police requested Mountain Rescue assistance in the search for April Jones as
part of a multi-agency response.
'Initially our task was to help coordinate the fantastic efforts being made by local volunteer searchers, and conduct searches around the residential areas of Machynlleth.
'The scale of the operation quickly increased and mountain rescue teams and search dogs were brought in from throughout Wales, and subsequently from across the UK. As other teams have stepped in to ensure continuity of cover in home areas, this truly has been a response of unprecedented scale.
'Throughout the week and over the weekend the specialist Mountain, cave, water and dog teams of Mountain Rescue have been working through a systematic search plan based on current search management science. This has involved an overhead team of approximately 20 experienced search managers and administrators co-ordinating the efforts of on average 200 searchers per day, behind the scenes at the leisure centre here.
'Whilst your [TV] cameras have caught glimpses of teams working through their tasks, almost all our work has been in remote and inaccessible areas. This includes areas best suited to our skills such as the forestry, hills, rivers and quarry workings around Machynlleth. We have searched in excess of 230 areas, over more than 70 square kilometres.
'Over the last week the unpaid professionals of Mountain Rescue England and Wales have contributed an estimated 9250 man hours to the search for April. To put that into context, this would take one person well over 5 working years.
'Mountain Rescue is not unfamiliar with major incidents. We were significant contributors to the rescue efforts of Lockerbie, Morecombe Bayand the Cumbrian floods. In addition each of the 24 teams who have attended here, and those who have to enabled them to do so, each attend 100 or so incidents a year in their home area. What is unfamiliar to us is the level of recognition and media attention we have received here. As each team is a separate Charity, funded entirely by donations we're very grateful for your support.
'Our focus here has been to find April, applying our skills to the intelligence available to us. We have now reached a point where we have exhausted the search of areas best suited to our skills, given what we currently know and the tasks now being generated are more suited to specially trained police search teams. As such mountain rescue operations will be suspended this evening. We have worked very closely with the Police and remain on-hand to assist with the search if the Police consider it
appropriate. Meanwhile local teams intend to return as and when possible.
'As you are aware, members of mountain rescue receive no payment or expenses, and have only been able to attend here with the support of their families and employers. Similarly the support received from the people of Machynlleth has been extraordinary and we cannot put in to words our appreciation for all they've done for us. This is a harrowing time for April's
family and the community, and our thoughts are with them all.'
The team was just starting to return from a long day of deployment in the search for April Jones when we received a call of a party of 2 lost on Aran Fawddwy. With many of our team still out in the field, we received very welcome assistance in this rescue from NEWSAR, SSSART, Kinder MRT and Western Becons MRT. A Sea King Helicopter was also requested from RAF 22 Squadron. Mechanical issues meant that the first aircraft had to return to base before re deploying with a second helicopter. The Teams were part way up to the casualties when Rescue 122 arrived on scene and airlifted the party to safety. The team would like to send a massive thanks to all teams involved as well as RAF Valley.