Up to 70 people involved in major incident in Mourne Mountains

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An emergency rescue operation has been launched after around 40 Army cadets got into difficulty during a training exercise on a mountain in Northern Ireland.

It's understood the group is made up of young army cadets who had been camping close to the Carrick Hill area.

Up to 16 people are being treated for the effects of hypothermia.

Coastguards, mountain rescue teams, ambulance and police services have been called to the scene.

Medical staff are treating some people at the scene, it's understood weather conditions are poor.

A Mourne Mountain Rescue spokesman said: "Weather has caught them out".

Coastguard teams and search and rescue helicopters are on the scene, along with ambulances and mountain rescue.

In a statement, the United Kingdom coastguard said up to 70 people were involved in the incident.

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Up to 70 people are believed to be involved in an incident on the Co Down mountain range.

The Ministry of Defence said 43 young people and ten leaders were in the group.

Emergency services are on their way.

The UK Coastguard is also assisting and said initial reports were that that all members of the group are accounted for.

A major medical emergency was declared just before lunchtime after a group of around 70 army cadets got caught up in torrential rain.

A Coastguard spokesman told the News Letter: "Three Coastguard helicopters, three Coastguard rescue teams, police and ambulances are involved".

He said: "Such an incident will surely highlight the need for extreme caution when walking in the mountains especially on days such as today when weather conditions have been atrocious on street/town level never mind up in the mountains".

Mourne councillor Henry Reilly said conditions are "unbelievably bad for August".

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