LUCKY TO BE ALIVE.
That is how three Solihull men whose Land Rover was sent crashing down a 60-metre drop at the bottom of a snow-covered Welsh valley have been described.
Emergency services – including a helicopter rescue and three mountain rescue teams were called to the Radnor Range in Powys at 4am on Saturday (November 21) by a group of off-roaders.
The dramatic cliff-side operation saw the teams spend six hours rescuing the ten-strong group – all from the West Midlands, who had been driving in three Land Rovers when they got into difficulties.
A problem occurred with one of the vehicles – rumoured to be a handbrake failure – as it was going up a slope, forcing the driver to lose control and start its terrifying slip backwards.
Careering out of control, the Land Rover smashed through a fence, ploughed 200 metres down the icy hillside, plummeting the final 60 metres and literally disintegrating around the terrified driver and passengers.
The three men, who miraculously cheated death as the pictures of the demolished vehicles show, were treated on the scene for head and spinal injuries and hypothermia.
Although the freshly fallen snow and low temperatures made the rescue more difficult, emergency services managed to eventually winch the trio out using a helicopter from St Athan.
They were then flown to the nearest roadside.
One man was flown to Hereford Hospital and the other two were flown to University Hospital in Cardiff where they are being treated for spinal injuries.
The remaining seven members of the group were escorted by Mountain Rescue Team members to the safety of the road, unharmed.
Among those at the scene were members of the other three South Wales Mountain Rescue teams: Central Beacons, Longtown and Western Beacons.
Dyfed Powys Police, Welsh Ambulance and HART teams together with Midlands and West Wales Fire service (MAWFS) and MAWFS technical support teams were also present.
One of the group, posting online, said they had been driving on a legal byway when their friends’ vehicle fell back into the land which made up a privately owned munition test range, sometimes used by the Ministry of Defence.
Posting as Wrecker4x4, they added they were stationary when the accident happened because they were aware of the dangerous position they were in and thought it may have been a handbrake failure which caused the third vehicle to roll back.
“I can’t thank the Brecon Mountain Rescue teams enough,” they added.
“They were amazing and I honestly think if it wasn’t for them my friends wouldn’t be here today.
“I will certainly be doing as much as I can to raise as much as I can for this life-saving service.”