'Houston, we have a problem'

Texas call centre raises alarm after climber gets stuck on a ledge on the Reeks

Sinead Kelleher

A UK walker who became stranded on a ledge on Carruantoohill owes his rescue to a personal beacon which alerted a call centre in Houston, Texas, which in turn contacted Valentia Coastguard Station.

The unusual train of events took place on Friday afternoon after the man lost his way while making this way down Carrauntoohil. He was an experienced walker and had been in contact with his family while on the summit. However, he lost his way while descending and became stuck on a ledge and couldn't move up or down. 

There was no phone reception at his location but, thankfully, he was wearing a personal locator beacon which he activated, and this led to the rescue. 

The beacon alerted a call centre in Houston, Texas, with the man's location, and they in turn alerted Valentia Coastguard Station, who contacted Killarney Gardaí and Killarney Mountain Rescue were mobilised and came to the man's aid. 

Such personal beacons would be more commonly used in other countries, but Kerry Mountain Rescue said that this was a "first ever" scenario for the rescue crew.

"The beacon gives the longitudinal and latitudinal location of the person," explained Kerry Mountain Rescue spokesperson Alan Wallace. 

"We have never before had a situation like this. The beacon was of huge benefit as there was no phone reception where he became stranded."