Sunday, 7 August 2011


Its raining heavily here.

The sound of the rain bouncing off the pavement outside my window.

The smell of the rain as it hits the floor.


Its dark, I swing my torch around, I see nothing but rain and grass in the patch illuminated. I hear J curse, he's just spotted something on the slope.

A wall. Damn, we didn't see that when we started running down the hill on search.

Right well, crack on and all that.

J jumps down, no problem

My turn, off I jump, its deeper than it looks, nettles and weeds covering a ditch at the base of the wall. And my ankle takes the brunt of the landing. Oh, thats my ankle bone touching the floor. Great. But there's potentially a person face down in the lake at the bottom of this slope. Just don't take the boots off. They might not go back on.

Pain pushed out of the picture for now.

More sweeps of our torches, hoping to find the girl before we get to the lake edge. No such joy. Radio messages from Gold team detailing areas to search. No one knows we're here, no one has thought to check the lake. Radio in, give our location to the search leaders.

Damn this lake is a hell of a lot further away than it looked at the house... we've gone at least a kilometre, maybe more. Down a steep slippery slope in the rain. If we need help, there's no way an ambulance can get down here easily, and it'll be a dangerous climb if we have to stretcher her out. Especially with my ankle feeling crunchy.

Ok, bad thinking. Keep moving. Concentrate on resus protocols. Its likely she's overdosed and aspirated water. Get her airway secure, get her breathing and get the medics down asap.

Its 3AM, we've been working since 8am and the rain is making every log look like a body.

Lake edge, three sweeps and nothing, tracks from night-fishermen, long gone home to escape the rain, but no girl, face down in the lake.

We decide she's not here and radio the area clear. Time to scale that hill and search on.

Our boots and clothes soaked through, our girl still missing. The festival manager suddenly remembers me and J are the night managers and sends us to the front gate as police liaisons. Off we go in the site vehicle, trying to get some feeling back into our limbs.

Radio transmisson "Gold leader, gold leader, we've got her. VIP loc blue"

J stays with the site vehicle by the gate for the 100+ police officers due to arrive soon, off I run to the location given, meet the EMTs en-route and check her out. Medically she's sound, no injuries, nothing obvious, just very drunk.

We eventually piece together a story; she's bipolar and hadn't been taking her meds. She was drunk and had an argument with her boyfriend, who was outside the tent swearing at her to come out because "she was embarassing him". I radioed for security to restrain the man away from her tent.

It turned out she'd "gone for a walk" and somehow managed to miss the 9 sweeps of the campsite, cars of stewards going down every lane for 5 miles, and come back to her tent to sleep between the 8th and 9th sweep.


Its funny what memories, triggered by smells and sounds, you can relive in a moment.

I had to cut my boot off by the way, I left them on for 3 days, my foot and ankle had swollen so much I couldn't pull them off when I got home. 

I finished the festival off, went home and slept for a day before seeking medical attention.
My ankle was grade 2 sprained. 
I got shouted at by the Nurse Practitioner at A&E. Again.

She knows me by my first name - I'm clumsy!

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