Page last updated at 13:16 GMT, Tuesday, 9 June 2009 14:16 UK

New 'mountain map' aids rescuers

A mock mountain rescue
The software is being given to all 24 mountain rescue teams

A new mapping tool that allows mountain rescue teams and the emergency services to share search data has been created.

The software, being given to Scotland's 24 mountain rescue crews, will enable them to co-ordinate searches and map the progress of missions.

The system has been launched as figures published by the Scottish Mountain Rescue Committee showed there were 20 deaths on Scotland's mountains in 2008.

According to the organisation there were 387 incidents last year.

The news comes as Community Safety Minister Fergus Ewing, a former member of Lomond Mountain Rescue team, announced £300,000 of funding for the Mountain Rescue Committee.

'Vital role'

Speaking from the rescue team's headquarters in Drymen, Mr Ewing said: "I very much welcome the introduction of this new system which will allow better co-ordination and planning of searches and enable the accurate exchange of vital information.

"The Scottish Government fully recognises the vital role of the mountain rescue teams as they go to the aid of those who get into difficulty on our mountains."

Alfie Ingram, chairman of the Scottish Mountain Rescue Committee, said the new mapping technology would aid future rescue bids.

He said: "Being able to store these maps electronically and make them available for future use at the click of a button has also been developed to assist in making the search for missing people easier."

He added that rescue teams were under increasing pressure as more people visited Scotland's mountains.

He said: "The figures show that the number of incidents attended to by Scottish Mountain Rescue have remained static with no increases or decreases despite an increase in the number of people accessing the mountains and hills of Scotland."

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