21:00 on Sunday 19th February the team were called by Devon and Cornwall Police due to concerns for two overdue kayakers on the upper section of the River Dart.
The pair had set off with a group from Dartmeet and after a while had decided to get out of the river and walk out to meet the rest of the group who had continued kayaking. When the pair didn’t reach the car park and darkness fell their friends alerted the police who then called the team out.
Believing the missing kayakers to be on the south bank of the river, two team members took a Land Rover upstream from New Bridge for a hasty search whilst the rest of the team prepared to carry out more thorough searches and our swift water technicians and rope experts prepared to carry out a technical evacuation if required.
5 search teams were sent to search both sides of the river. Thankfully the missing kayakers were located safe and well just before 23:00. They were walked to one of our Land Rovers and driven back to New Bridge to be reunited with their group.
An incident like this shows the importance of being prepared. It would have been dark under the trees in the valley before 1700; the missing kayakers didn’t have any torches with them so were in complete darkness for 6 hours. Thankfully it was quite a warm night.