What do you do in your day job?
What attracted you to working with LONSAR?
I work as an editor preparing transcripts of court proceedings – I used to work at the Royal Courts of Justice in London but now work at home.
I joined LONSAR when it was first formed having previously been a member of another Lowland Rescue team in the home counties. I joined up after I saw Lowland Rescue mentioned in my local paper in relation to the search for a woman who had gone missing who was later found murdered. I had always thought Mountain Rescue sounded interesting but I don't live near any mountains, so Lowland Rescue is the next best thing!
Louise - Search Planner
Can you tell us about a search that you took part in that stands out in your memory?
I attended a call-out on the other side of London in the small hours of the night for a young man who was thought to be despondent. Nothing was found and we stood down as the sun was coming up, but we were called out again later in the morning after new information was received by the police. After a couple of hours of searching in the countryside my team found his body, and we secured the scene before handing it over to the police for investigation. That was my first find – sadly we don’t always get the outcome we are hoping for, but at least we know a family won't have to wonder for years where their loved one is.
What’s the most challenging part of being a search technician?
It's physically and mentally taxing, as you can often travel a considerable distance from home and spend hours in the middle of the night clambering about in the woods only to find nothing. You have to manage your energy and know when to stop if you are too tired to focus on searching properly, as you can't run the risk of overlooking the missing person if they are in your assigned area. At least when nothing is found you know that the search area has been cleared so the search managers can focus on other likely areas for a find.
And the best part?
Knowing that someone has been found alive is unbeatable, and it lifts the whole team's mood. Being part of a skilled search team that's working really effectively and who you know you can trust is very satisfying, especially if you have a find. Even if you find nothing you know you've been part of a bigger picture that will help the search managers to decide on their next steps.
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