A man has died after getting trapped in a narrow cave in the Yorkshire Dales as rescuers prepared to launch an operation to reach him.
Almost 100 volunteers were involved in the more than 17-hour operation to extract the victim, but he died before he could be moved to the surface.
A statement from the Cave Rescue Organisation said the man was part of a group of three people who had gone caving at Fountains Fell in North Yorkshire on Saturday afternoon.
© Other Rescuers discovered the operation would need ‘major engineering work’. Pic: Swaledale Mountain Rescue TeamWhile exploring a new cave, the man fell inside a six-metre drop (20ft) and broke his leg.
His fellow cavers called for help, but rescuers were unable to immediately bring him to the surface due to the cave being unmapped, and the passage being too narrow to help him out.
The organisation said: “Realising this would require major engineering work simultaneously at many places along the length of the cave, as well as fully rigging for rescue, the team called on neighbouring teams and our own reserve Cavers List to assist with making access and egress suitable.”
© Other The Cave Rescue Organisation said the operation involved 1,626 hours of work from volunteers. Pic: Swaledale Mountain Rescue TeamMeanwhile, a medical team monitored the man’s condition and prepared to move him, but he eventually died from his injuries.
The statement continued: “Unfortunately, due to the nature of his injuries, and the extended time needed to create a navigable way out, the casualty succumbed to his injuries and died just prior to the extrication beginning.”
Rescue volunteers had been drafted in from a number of different teams including the Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Association, Swaledale Mountain Rescue Team, Calder Valley Search and Rescue Team, Cumbria Mines Rescue, the Bradford Pothole Club, the Yorkshire Spelio Society.
© Getty The passages were too narrow to help the man, who had broken his leg, to the surface. Pic: Swaledale Mountain Rescue TeamIn total, the rescue operation involved 1,626 hours from the volunteers.
The Cave Rescue Organisation also thanked the Yorkshire Ambulance Service and Maritime Coastguard Agency “who remained in close touch in readiness to provide immediate air evacuation in the event of a successful extrication, which sadly was not to be”.