Romford fitness trainer Steve Walker tells of survival during 24 hours lost in Welsh mountains
The Romford fitness trainer who was missing overnight in a Welsh mountain range has told how army training and thoughts of his family helped him survive.
During his ordeal, 34-year-old Steve Walker endured a landslide, being swept down a river and trekking eight miles with multiple injuries.
Steve was leading four hikers through the Brecon Beacons over the long weekend. He had walked ahead on Monday (August 27) to scope out the area when waterlogged ground beneath him gave way.
“I dropped downwards and hit some boulders at the base of the cliff,” he said. “This threw me into the river. I was wearing my pack and this caused me to go downstream face down.
“I managed to take my pack off and put it in front of me to use as a floatation device. The river was so fast there was no way of fighting it. Eventually when it slowed I managed to scramble out.”
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Steve had injured his shoulder, hip, knee and ankle, so he pitched his tarpaulin and waited for rescue.
His group raised the alarm at about 1pm and police officers, mountain rescue teams and an RAF helicopter began searching.
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But after failing to attract the helicopter’s attention on Monday night Steve knew he had to find his own way back – even though he’d lost his map.
“I have a girlfriend and a four-month-old son,” he told the Recorder. “The whole time I was out there I was just thinking about getting back to them.”
Dave Coombs, deputy team leader of Brecon Mountain Rescue Team, said specialist water rescue teams had been combing nearby rivers as fears for Steve’s safety increased.
But in the end he found his own way, stumbling across a BBC Wales camera crew outside a nearby pub on Tuesday lunchtime.
Steve, who returned to his girlfriend Clare and son William after six hours in hospital, said: “It’s the first time I’ve gone through anything like that, but I spent eight years in the army.
“It’s pure coincidence the spot I came out was where the camera crew were. I was just trying to head towards where I heard the helicopter.”
Steve had a sprained ankle, a torn knee ligament and muscle damage. His dislocated shoulder had reset itself under the weight of his pack.
“Mountain Rescue told me if I hadn’t taken the actions I did, I would have died that night,” he said.
Alex Green, Steve’s colleague and general manager at Fitness First Romford, said he was relieved to hear Steve had been found safe and well.