Body recovery a growing part of rescuers' work

MOUNTAIN rescue teams are having to deal with a growing number of people who head for the hills to take their own lives.

Statistics released last night by the Mountain Rescue Committee of Scotland show that the number of call-outs for teams across Scotland rose by 4 per cent last year over 2008.

Volunteers dealt with 402 mountaineering incidents which involved 560 people, 27 deaths and 228 injuries.

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But they also handled 156 non-mountaineering incidents, which involved 58 deaths and 30 people being injured.

The non-mountaineering incidents have included recovering bodies after suicides in remote areas, as well as assisting stranded motorists.

Alf Ingram, the committee chairman, said: "The main reason for the overall increase in the number of incidents is on the non-mountaineering side.

"Very sadly there is a rise in the number of vulnerable people choosing to go into the countryside to take their own lives. It's a reflection on society."