CLAPHAM-based Cave Rescue Organisation followers have expressed their horror and anger after a drone hovered just a matter of metres away from a woman in her 60s the team was trying to treat.

Members of the rescue team present at the scene yesterday (Tuesday) said there was no pilot in sight and they were forced to erect a shelter to give the distressed casualty some privacy.

A spokesman for the CRO said the CRO was tasked by North Yorkshire Police to attend a female casualty with a lower leg injury in the Southerscales area on Ingleborough at around 2.30pm.

He said: "Fortunately for the casualty, one of the first passers by was a team member from Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Association who was well equipped with a first aid kit and was able to commence casualty care and also provide feedback to the CRO duty controller in relation to location, equipment needed etc.

"On arriving at the incident scene there was a drone present, hovering less than 15 metres of the casualty.

"It remained in a static position facing the casualty for approximately 10 minutes before leaving in the direction of Chapel-le-Dale.

"Despite being a warm pleasant day, a group shelter (emergency weather shelter) was placed over the casualty to provide some privacy while she was examined and treated. Group shelters are incredibly effective, and even on a cold wet day they soon get quite warm inside very quickly. On a day such as Tuesday, they can become uncomfortably warm for both casualty and casualty carer, which is frustrating as there was absolutely no requirement for the use of the shelter apart from to provide a visual barrier to the drone.

"We have since learned that it is illegal to fly a drone within 50m of people or objects not under your control; this was much closer.

"However, irrespective of the distance, the drone pilot’s actions made a painful and difficult situation more difficult for the casualty, her husband, a passing good Samaritan and the CRO team members who attended the scene.

"Another major concern is that we are very closely supported by the air ambulance services (YAA, NWAA & GNAA). Having a drone present at the incident scene could result in them not being able to attend and provide their vital expert medical attention.

"I’m sure people have seen in the press over that last few weeks that mountain and cave rescue volunteers can work in some extremely challenging situations. They do so with consummate professionalism and a sincere desire to help people, all in their own free time, and all for free.

"An incident such as this makes it more difficult for team members to provide this fantastic service.

"As with any incident we attend, our prime concern is our casualty – we wish her a speedy recovery and hope that she is back out on the hill as soon as possible."

Followers of the CRO's Facebook page wrote of their outrage. One said: "There is a word for people who interfere this way, while another said: "The CRO equivalent of rubber-necking at an RTC."

Another responded: "I fly drones, and I like to think more responsibly than the minority who give drone drivers a bad name. Most of us do use them sensibly. Whoever was flying the one mentioned is a womble."

Others branded the incident 'disrespectful' and 'unbelievable'.

Drone users have to follow specific rules whether flying commercially or for pleasure.

The drone code acronym published by the Civil Aviation Authority relating to drones for recreational use states: "Don't fly near airports, Remember to stay below 400ft (120m); Observe your drone at all times and stay 150ft (50m) away from people and property; Never fly near aircraft; Enjoy responsibly."

It is understood the police were being informed of the drone's presence.