Missing pensioner found safe and well

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A major police and mountain rescue search was mounted for a seriously ill South Yorkshire pensioner when he went missing from his home.

Joe Draper, aged 85, of Harmony Way, Catcliffe, was last seen at 6am on Wednesday - leaving relatives frantic with worry because he never leaves his house alone.

He was eventually found in Brinsworth at 7pm that night.

Specialist search officers from South Yorkshire Police searched local watercourses, including Catcliffe Flash, looking for the OAP before he was found ‘safe and well’.

Local residents spotted the police underwater search unit at the reservoir.

The police helicopter was also used to scour the ground from above to look for signs of the missing pensioner.

Around 30 volunteers from Woodhead Mountain Rescue Team joined in the search operation, including specialist swift water rescue reams and six search and rescue dogs from Woodhead, Edale and Oldham rescue teams.

The volunteers looked along unused railway lines and river banks.

Woodhead Mountain Rescue Team Incident Controller John Howe said: “It was a particularly difficult search to manage given the size of area we had to cover and the specific terrain within the search area.

“It was important we used the correct search strategy to hit the probable areas within the search area.

“When we got the call to say the man had been found safe and well it was a real sense of relief and a great feeling.

“I’d also like to say a massive thanks to the manager and staff at the Morrison’s store who fed and watered the teams during the search.”

A mountain rescue team spokesman said: “We usually operate in the wilderness of the Peak District.”

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