POLICE are warning people to make sure they are wearing the right gear after they had to rescue a British family from the snowy Sierra Nevada with the mother clad in a pair of shorts.
The family of five – a 57-year-old man, his wife aged 53 and their three children aged between 11 and 21 – were hiking in the San Juan ravine when the woman fell down a steep, snowy slope. She suffered a broken shoulder, bruising and bleeding lacerations to her left leg.
Emergency services launched a rescue operation, which lasted six hours and ended at almost 11pm.
When a mountain rescue team arrived at the scene, the five Britons had been in the snow for hours without ‘the right equipment, nor the technical or physical ability to climb the steep slope of icy snow,’ explained the Guardia Civil.
The woman was at the bottom of the ravine and was showing signs of severe hypothermia. She had been there for hours, in the snow, in shorts.
Rescuers gave her warm clothes and a hot drink. None of the family were wearing suitable clothing or footwear for the conditions, said a police spokesperson.
The terrain was too difficult to use a helicopter, so the injured woman had to be stretchered up the slope for about 500 metres during last Wednesday’s incident.
The rest of the hikers followed the same route after being given warm clothing and crampons and being guided by the Guardia Civil.
Most online hiking guides say that the San Juan ravine is not a particularly difficult route, although it is usually advised to walk it in the spring or summer. In winter snow and ice can make it treacherous.
According to the Guardia Civil, most mountain accidents are due to human error. Only a small percentage are due to events beyond the victim’s control, such as avalanches or landslides.