A DRAMATIC search and rescue mission was launched after an elderly and vulnerable patient went missing from Scarborough Hospital.
A police helicopter was drafted in to help ground-based teams in the early hours of yesterday morning and it was the chopper’s heat-seeking equipment which located the 84-year-old.
The man, an inpatient at the hospital, was reported missing at around 11:45pm on Sunday and it was more than three hours before he was found in a field at the Raincliffe site of the Graham Raincliffe Federation school.
Although the man was not fully aware of his surroundings and was suffering from the effects of cold, he was able to communicate with his rescuers and was taken back to the hospital.
Liz Booth, director of operations at Scarborough Hospital, said the patient had left the hospital through a fire exit.
She added: “All appropriate escalation procedures were followed including a search and rescue helicopter.
“We worked closely with the family to locate the patient who was found safe and well. The patient was taken to the accident and emergency department for a full assessment before returning to the ward.”
Police scoured the hospital buildings during the search while 11 members of Scarborough and Ryedale Mountain Rescue Team covered the outdoor areas surrounding the hospital.
Andy Crossley, team leader of the mountain rescue team, said: “There was concern for the gentleman. It was raining and was cold for anyone not wearing winter clothes.
“We worked with the police, put together a plan and requested air support. We started the search from his last known location.
“It went on for a few hours before the helicopter spotted a heat source and guided the team in.
“He wasn’t aware of what was going on around him and was a bit confused.”
Members of the search and rescue team stood down at 03:28am following the successful search.