St Albans School claims pupils stranded in Brecon Beacons for four hours ‘were not lost’
PUBLISHED: 16:33 30 June 2016 | UPDATED: 16:58 30 June 2016
A school has played down suggestions that pupils were lost in the Brecon Beacons, despite a four hour search and rescue operation.
A group of teenagers from St Albans School were stranded in Llyn y Fan Fach, near Abercraffor in Wales, for nearly four hours on Wednesday (29) and were eventually brought to safety by a volunteer mountain rescue operation and helicopter.
The 26 pupils were taking part in their silver Duke of Edinburgh award when they were reported to police as ‘missing’.
A spokesperson for Dyfed-Powys Police service said they had received numerous calls from both staff and pupils reporting a number of concerns.
She added that most of the calls referred to the group being ‘missing’ or that some of the party were unwell.
St Albans School spokesperson has said that the children were not lost and that the school knew where they were the entire time.
But a source close to the search operation told the Herts Advertiser that if the exact location had been known the entire time it might not have taken as long to find them.
Alarms were sounded at about 12.45pm and rescue teams searched for the children before locating them and beginning to try and escort them from the scene at about 3.30pm. All of the children were deemed safe by about 5pm.
Trevor James from Weston Beacons Mouintain Rescue, who worked with a number of other volunteer mountain rescue teams to help retrieve the teenagers, said they were originally told that the children were missing.
He added that although they had a rough idea of their whereabouts, they only managed to find their exact grid location using an app called SARLOC a while later. He was unsure about what time the signal was received.
The school spokesperson said that the pupils were left without an adult for an hour and a half until staff managed to join them.
Trevor added that the pupils reacted in the right way by calling for help and followed all the right steps.
A coastguard helicopter and some mountain rescue team were responsible for escorting the party to safety. Trevor said: “If you can walk down that’s always a good sign.”
The pupils were checked over in hospital as a precaution but all were found to be in good health.