Dramatic pictures show firefighters rescuing three 'casualties' from the big wheel on Blackpool's Central Pier during training exercise

Three 'casualties' were rescued during a training exercise at the big wheel on Blackpool's Central Pier today.

Monday, 18th November 2019, 5:00 pm

The drill saw firefighters taking part from across the county, including stations in Blackpool, South Shore, St Annes, Bamber Bridge, and Chorley.

The first casualty - a dummy - had to be rescued quickly using a huge ladder because their condition was "unconscious and time critical", the fire service said.

The second 'live' casualty also had to be saved using a ladder, while the third was stuck half-way up the massive wheel, with the specialist skills of the Bamber Bridge and Chorley rope rescue team called upon to rescue them.

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Firefighters bringing down the stranded man using a rope system (Picture: Kelvin Stuttard/JPIMedia)
Firefighters bringing down the stranded man using a rope system (Picture: Kelvin Stuttard/JPIMedia)

Pat Thompson, White Watch manager at Blackpool's Forest Gate fire station, was the officer in charge of the incident. He said: "We are extremely grateful to the team at Central Pier for letting us use their venue for a training exercise.

"It is really important for our crews to be able to train at different and realistic locations and be ready for potential real-life incidents."

Mr Thompson added: "The big wheel and Central Pier are iconic locations in the north west and further afield, and would no doubt attract a lot of media and public attention if an incident was to happen here.

"By having these relationships in place, and whole-time and retained crews getting the opportunity to train, it means the outcome is better for all involved."

Firefighters on the ground supporting the rope used to rescue the stranded man (Photo: Kelvin Stuttard/JPIMedia)

Blackpool's station manager Ian Armistead was also at the exercise, while the Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service's drone was also used to give the firefighters an aerial view.

* The Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service is recruiting on-call firefighters until December 6. Interested parties can visit jobs.lancsfirerescue.org.uk

One of the live 'casualties' stranded on the big wheel, awaiting rescue (Picture: Kelvin Stuttard)
Firefighters from across the Fylde coast took part in the training exercise earlier today, Monday, November 18, 2019 (Picture: Kelvin Stuttard/JPIMedia)