Yorkshire Dales caver stuck underground for 17 hours dies

A caver has died in the Yorkshire Dales despite a 17-hour operation to rescue him involving almost 100 people.

The Cave Rescue Organisation (CRO) said the incident happened on Saturday at Curtain Pot, on Fountains Fell, North Yorkshire.

Almost 100 people battled to save the man’s life but he died in the cave as rescuers were preparing to extricate him.

A statement on the CRO's website said the man, who was part of a group of three, had broken his leg in a 6m (20ft) fall deep within the cave.

It said the narrowness of the passages in the unmapped cave caused severe difficulties for rescuers and the man died before he could be brought to the surface.

A CRO spokesperson said: “His companions immediately exited the cave to summon assistance before one returned to him, while one awaited our arrival to direct us to the site.

“As an exploration site, the cave was not mapped, nor were the passages of sufficient width to allow extrication of an immobile casualty.

“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, and with rigging the cave so that the casualty could be extricated smoothly once access was secured.”

The CRO spokesperson added: “In total, the incident actively involved 94 volunteers for over 17½ hours.

"This includes personnel involved in providing food and drink, co-ordinating resources, both human and equipment, and communications.

“We would also like to extend our thanks to Yorkshire Ambulance Service and YAS hazardous area response team and to the Maritime and 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.”

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