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Footage shows daring rescuers save climbers stuck on frozen Carrauntoohil

DRAMATIC footage has emerged of the rescue of three mountain climbers who were left dangling on a snow-covered ledge near the summit of Ireland's highest peak.

The video, which was shared by the Kerry Mountain Rescue team, shows the rescue team escorting the climbers on foot down the mountain in darkness through an area called the Devil's Ladder.

The trio of climbers and six members of the Kerry Mountain Rescue team were nearing the base of Carrauntoohil Mountain shortly before 9pm on Saturday night following the dramatic rescue operation.

Rescue team leader Tim Murphy said the climbers were thankful to have escaped with their lives and planned to celebrate their dramatic rescue last night with a pint.

"We're still on our way down but we're almost there," he said - adding "We might have a pint" when asked how the weary climbers planned to thank their rescuers for saving their lives.

The drama unfolded at 4:40pm on Saturday when the Irish climbers, including two men and a woman, found themselves trapped on a narrow ledge about 210m from the summit of Carrauntoohil in the Macgillycuddy Reeks in Co Kerry, after realising they couldn't climb any further - neither up nor down.

The rock outcropping in an area known as the Curved Gully was covered in snow and ice due to its high elevation and sub-zero temperatures.

"Because of the snow they couldn't get on or off," Mr Murphy said.

The ledge is extremely precarious and narrow, leaving the climbers clinging to one another, with one leg dangling over the edge.

But using a smartphone, the climbers alerted the Valencia Coast Guard and were able to pinpoint their exact location using a GPS app on the phone.

The Shannon Coast Guard rescue helicopter was then dispatched - but it couldn't be deployed to winch the climbers from the ledge out of fears that the downdraft from the helicopter would blow them off the mountain, which is a perilous 3,406ft high.

Instead, a six-person team from Kerry Mountain Rescue was flown by the helicopter to an area close to the summit around 6pm from where they abseiled down the mountain to pluck the climbers from the ledge about an hour later.

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"It was bad," Mr Murphy said of the treacherous spot the climbers were in when they found them.

"They were very cold and very nervous," he said.

But after reassuring them, the rescue team was able to help the climbers continue their trek on foot down the mountain in darkness through an area called the Devil's Ladder.

Despite their harrowing ordeal, the climbers were fine but a bit shaken, he added.

"It all worked out okay in the end, thank God," he said.

A spokesman for Valencia Coast Guard, meanwhile, credited the mountain rescue team for its daring rescue.

"The guys did a fantastic job," he said.


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