Army Cadet Force lifesavers honoured for South Africa rescue

Maloti-Drakensberg Park Image copyright UNESCO

Three Army Cadet Force expedition leaders are being honoured for saving a 16-year-old girl after she became ill while trekking in South Africa.

She had a severe asthma attack on a mountain in Southern Drakensberg, according to the Royal Humane Society.

And it took the three-man team over five hours to carry her to safety.

Hayden Duncalf, from Glan Conwy, Conwy county, Andrew McNamara, from Bradford, and Richard Breese from Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, will get awards.

The drama unfolded at 2,200ft (670m) just after the decision was taken to abandon the trek due to "treacherous" conditions caused by 80mph (128km) winds.

'Incredibly gruelling'

The girl had attempted to use her inhaler without success and, because of her breathing difficulties, she started to drift in and out of consciousness, the Royal Humane Society said.

Unable to summon help due to the weather, Sgt Major Breese, 33, carried her to the mountain floor and then he and Lt Duncalf, 47, took it in turns to carry the girl for the next hour-and-a-half to get closer to help.

Sgt Instructor McNamara, 42, monitored her condition throughout, according to the national life-saving award commendation.

They were nominated by the Army Cadet Force which provides military-themed activities for children and young people from around the UK.

"It must have been an incredibly gruelling, harrowing and seemingly never-ending trip carrying her down the mountain," said Andrew Chapman, secretary of the Royal Humane Society.

"The three of them did an absolutely superb job with the result that she survived the ordeal and was, amazingly, released from hospital the next day.

"They richly deserve the awards they are to receive."

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