TWO police officers have been commended for saving a 26-year-old woman who got lost in remote Shropshire countryside.
Dog handlers Sergeant Pat Garrett and Police Constable Peter Jones co-ordinated the search for the woman who went missing during a night-time visit to the Stiperstones hills in April.
They have been awarded West Mercia Police Superintendent's Commendations for determination, commitment and professional response.
Inspector Simon Lewis, the supervising officer, said: “The woman had been missing for well over 24 hours, spending the best part of two nights stranded in an exposed upland area. It's quite possible she may not have survived the duration of that second evening if she had not been found, especially if the weather had deteriorated.
“Without the persistence and determination of Sgt Garrett and PC Jones, she may not have been discovered that evening. They took control of the incident, liaising with air control to ensure a systematic search was conducted. It is due to their professionalism and dedication to duty that she was traced and in due course able to make a full recovery.”
The woman, who had been with two other people, became separated in a wooded area following an argument. Her colleagues searched for several hours before returning to Shrewsbury.
She was reported missing to police at 8.20pm on April 30, 18 hours after last being seen and it was apparent her safety was at risk.
At 10pm, dog handlers Sgt Garrett and PC Jones were asked to co-ordinate the search. They carried out a systematic search of the area in darkness and extremely difficult conditions, checking paths and tracks and combing dense undergrowth and brambles.
The force helicopter was utilised but its thermal cameras were unable to detect any images.
Knowing the woman was possibly lying injured, the officers searched for around three hours. Eventually their commitment to duty paid off. A faint voice was heard responding to the officers' shouts and she was discovered lying in an isolated and dense area of scrub.
She was in a weak state suffering from dehydration and hypothermia. She was taken in a police 4X4 to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital as the location was too remote for an ambulance to reach.