Injured man rescued from South Wales cave after getting trapped underground for two days
Written by Gavin on 9th November 2021
A man rescued from a cave system in the Brecon Beacons after getting injured and trapped for two days is doing “remarkably well”, the emergency services have said.
Rescue workers pulled the man out of Ogof Ffynnon Ddu near Penwyllt on Monday evening in what is believed to be the longest stretcher carry in British cave rescue history
More than 240 people – and at least eight cave rescue teams – were involved in the operation.
The caver in his 40s is alive after his 54-hour ordeal and was taken to hospital in an ambulance.
Gary Evans, the emergency services liaison officer, told reporters: “The casualty is doing remarkably well if you consider how long he’s been in the cave, how long he’s been in a stretcher- he’s doing very well indeed.”
He said teams were “absolutely delighted” with how the rescue had gone, adding: “We’re delighted because it was a difficult rescue and we’re delighted because the casualty has done really well considering what’s happened.”
The South and Mid Wales Cave Rescue Team said the man fell while caving in Ogof Ffynnon Ddu near Penwyllt on Saturday.
He was unable to climb out because of the injuries he suffered in the fall.
His injuries are not thought to be life-threatening but are believed to include a broken jaw, leg, and spinal injuries.
The rescue team added: “The extraction of an injured caver from such a complex cave system creates many challenges including negotiating small tunnels, climbs, rivers and continuously uneven ground.”
Around 70 volunteers made their way down off the mountain to the rescue centre, before watching as the man was driven to hospital in Swansea.
Sky News reporter Becky Johnson witnessed the moment he was brought to the surface on a stretcher in dark and wet conditions.
Peter Francis, of the South Wales Caving Club (SWCC), thinks it was the longest rescue mission in a cave in Britain.
“To actually carry somebody in a stretcher, this is a 60-hour job. It’s unbelievable,” he told Sky News.
“It’s involved most of the rescue teams in Britain and the way they’ve worked together, meshed together – I just feel so proud of all of them.”
Discussing the man’s condition, he said: “He’s in good condition. I was here when the callout started. I was very worried then, would we get him out alive or would he deteriorate?
“All Saturday we were worried. Most of yesterday we were worried. So this is a huge relief for us.”
He added: “He was just incredibly unlucky. Physically, he put his foot in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“He could have done it on a pavement, in which case he would have been in hospital 10 minutes afterwards.
“But he was a mile or two underground in an awkward place. All the odds were against him, but his mental powers properly got him through. He was in an awful lot of pain to begin with, until we could get the drugs to him. He stood by all that.
“I’m absolutely impressed to no end how the teams worked together. A lot of them didn’t know each other and had never worked together before. And the fact they pulled this off – I’m absolutely thrilled.”
The man is thought to have gone into the cave system in a group, with others managing to get out and call for help.
He was placed on a stretcher and rescuers used a device that put hot air into his lungs, as they fought to keep him warm so he did not catch hypothermia.
From IRN/SKY News for GTFM