Walkers in Rhododendron Rescue Ordeal

News from Ireland, where a hillwalking couple had to be helped out by mountain rescue after becoming totally trapped in a dense rhododendron forest in the Knockmealdown Mountains. Where's Indiana Jones when you need him?

Amphibious escape from the voracious vegetation, 231 kb
Amphibious escape from the voracious vegetation
© South Eastern Mountain Rescue Association

The couple in their 50s were assisted off a treacherous area of steep ground overlooking Bay Lough in a five-hour operation on 15th June.

Rescuers have told RTE News that it was one of their most difficult-ever tasks, and that it took two hours of battling through the bushes just to reach the stuck pair. They then forced a path down to the water, to be picked up by boat. 

According to South Eastern Mountain Rescue Association Team Leader, Ray Bradfield, the two walkers were experienced and well equipped but were trying to make their way through terrain which is no longer passable due to the proliferation of rhododendron. Perhaps they should have brought a machete.

'A combined response from An Garda Siochana, Cahir River Search and Rescue, and Mountain Rescue was required due to the challenging nature of the terrain in this incident and all services played their part in ensuring a successful outcome' he said.

Non-native rhododendron are an invasive problem in many mountain areas in Britain and Ireland, but this is the first time we've heard of a shrubbery actually trying to eat people.

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