Abseiling, natural slides, jumps, the department is a recognized spot for canyoning and its followers are always more numerous. The mountain rescue teams are preparing for the summer season, especially in the canyon. The Independent followed them during an on-site exercise.

Ten o’clock in the morning, the CRS mountain detachment 66 based in Perpignan descended into the canyon of the gourg des Anelles, above Céret. The goal, to carry out a training exercise in the various first aid techniques in the canyon. “The objective today is to revise the techniques of intervention in the mountains”explains Captain Simon Egler. “The canyons have already opened, the interventions have begun. On average, we carry out fifteen or even twenty interventions per year in the department, all units combined”.

Interventions medicalized or not

Carrying the victim can quickly become complicated.

Carrying the victim can quickly become complicated.
Ph.C.

Indeed, in addition to the mountain CRS, the PGHM (high mountain gendarmerie platoon) or the Sdis can be called for an intervention of this type. “Some missions simply consist of an extraction (lack of suitable equipment or skills on the part of the victims) and others are medicalised. These can mainly be fractures, dislocations, following poor reception during a jump, a slip in a toboggan or a sprain during a trip. In this case we call on a doctor from Samu66 to support us”.

And the rescuer to specify : “In 99% of cases we intervene with the help of the Dragon 66 helicopter (the victims are then airlifted)but when it is not available or the weather conditions do not allow it, we have to adapt”. And today, no helicopter in sight, the training is done in “land” intervention. The false casualty of the day will be extracted with the strength of the arms, and as much to say that the weight of the victim, added to the difficulties of the ground (slippery, tortuous, wet…) do not facilitate the progress of the agents.

As soon as possible, the victim is extracted from the canyon.

As soon as possible, the victim is extracted from the canyon.
Ph.C.

New staff in training

“Today we will progress from the top of the canyon to the bottom with several technical workshops, use of ropes, zip lines, relays with other teams. The objective is to go quickly, safely and above all to isolate the victim environment as quickly as possible to avoid complications, particularly those related to the cold”. Good news, the victim of the day will arrive safely!

A life-size exercise that also allows the most experienced to share their knowledge with their new teammates. “This year, it’s a bit special because we have new staff who are being trained. This type of training allows us to confront the youngest with difficulties. Those who have more seniority in the profession can correct and provide technical elements and answers to the questions of the youngest”. As a reminder, the emergency number to reach the emergency services is 112. Practical information is also regularly disseminated via social networks: mountain rescue 66 CRS Pyrénées.

The canyoning season has already started.

The canyoning season has already started.
Ph.C.

Prevention, the main tool for limiting risks

Canyoning requires a certain physical form in order to progress with ease in a complicated wild environment, spend several hours in the water and go back to the starting point on foot and equipped with a neoprene suit. “We must favor supervised practices with guide instructors from the department who know the canyons perfectly”encourages Simon Egler. “We organize, in partnership with the Departmental Service for Youth, Commitment and Sports (SDJES), prevention and control days. Today we work in synergy and trust with professionals. It is also an opportunity to exchange information with them on the situation of the canyon, the attendance, the general tourist atmosphere”. Find out about the opening dates of the sites (that of the Cady, for example, only opens from August 15), about the weather, provide a liter of water, appropriate equipment and standards, a helmet is mandatory. .. So many precautions that professionals highlight. Parking in the spaces provided for this purpose, taking away your waste or even paying close attention to the risk of fire are also part of the good practitioner’s kit.