A MOUNTAIN rescue team have issued a statement following a major recue operation in which a man is said to be 'lucky to be alive'.

More than 70 people, five search dogs and two drones took part in an operation to find the man who had got into trouble on the ridge between Scafell Pike and Great End, over 24 hours.

The hiker had called for help at 6.26pm on Monday, February 20 but was not located until 2.30pm the following day.

The walker was hypothermic and had knee, leg and foot injuries, with rescue teams saying the walker was 'lucky to be alive'.

Having been alerted by Cumbria Police, Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team (WMRT) had been able to make contact with the man despite a weak phone signal and advised him to stay where he was and shelter from the wind.

A wider search was 'mounted in incredibly difficult conditions', after the team were unable to find him at that location and with contact having been lost.

Despite help from Keswick Mountain Rescue and search dogs from Cockermouth, rescuers came off the hill in the early hours of Tuesday, February 21.

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The operation resumed at first light when more rescue teams from across Cumbria and the North East joined in.

Rescuers have now urged people to not to substitute traditional navigation techniques such as a map and compass, for new methods such as Google Maps - which they say are 'not suitable for navigating on the hills'.

Wasdale Mountain Reasue Team said: "We rarely comment on a rescue, but in this case we would like to say he was very, very fortunate to have survived.

"We also have to say that Google Maps on smartphones are not suitable for navigating on the hills. They lack detail and of course will not work with a flat battery.

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"There is no substitute for a map and compass and being able to use them. They can save one's life."

Wet and misty weather made ground searches 'very challenging' and meant helicopter support could not be brought in, it added.

The man was stretchered off the hill and taken to hospital after being found on the east bank of Piers Gill.