Wales cave rescue: how injured man was saved from Brecon Beacons cave after being trapped for 54 hours

The man is said to be doing “remarkably well” after being brought out of Ogof Ffynnon Ddu in South Wales

An injured man has been rescued after spending 54 hours trapped in a cave.

The man, who is said to be doing “remarkably well”, was brought out of Ogof Ffynnon Ddu in the Brecon Beacons at around 7.45pm on Monday (8 November).

He was clapped and cheered by rescuers as he was lifted to the surface.

What injuries did the man stuck in the cave suffer?

The man, who is in his 40s, was helped into a cave rescue Land Rover before being taken to Morriston Hospital in Swansea in an ambulance that was waiting at the scene.

His injuries are believed to include a broken jaw, leg, and spinal injuries - but they are said to be non-life threatening.

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’s being assessed at the moment and we’ll know more in a short while.”

Asked how he felt about the success of the operation, Mr Evans added: “We’re absolutely delighted, we’re delighted because it was a difficult rescue and we’re delighted because the casualty has done really well considering what’s happened.”

How was the man saved from the cave?

Rescuers at the entrance of the Ogof Ffynnon Ddu cave system near Penwyllt, Powys in the Brecon Beacons, WalesRescuers at the entrance of the Ogof Ffynnon Ddu cave system near Penwyllt, Powys in the Brecon Beacons, Wales
Rescuers at the entrance of the Ogof Ffynnon Ddu cave system near Penwyllt, Powys in the Brecon Beacons, Wales

The operation to rescue him involved more than 240 people and at least eight cave rescue teams from around the UK.

Teams of rescuers had been working in shifts to bring him to safety.

It was said to be a difficult rescue because teams had to navigate through a complex cave system with rivers, climbs and small tunnels.

He was finally lifted to the surface after the 54-hour ordeal on a stretcher.

However, he could not be airlifted to hospital by helicopter because of the weather conditions.

Gary Mitchell, South and Mid Wales Cave Rescue Team’s surface controller, said: “To get that news that he’s finally out, he’s on the surface and being well looked after is clearly ecstatic for all of us.”

How did the man become stuck in the cave?

The man, who has been described as an experienced caver, had been trapped since Saturday (6 November) at around 1pm after suffering a fall.

Paul Taylor, spokesman for South and Mid Wales Cave Rescue Team (SMWCRT), said the man had gone into the Cwmdoor entrance of the caves before he fell.

His injuries left him unable to climb out of the cave on his own.

Peter Francis, a SMWCRT spokesperson, said the rescue is the longest in South Wales caving history.

The 74-year-old said: “The caver was very unlucky here. He’s an experienced caver, a fit caver. And it was a matter of putting his foot in the wrong place.

“He wasn’t in a dangerous part of the cave, it’s just something moved from under him.”

Where are the caves?

The caves located near to Penwyllt are 300 metres deep, making them the deepest in the UK.

Discovered in 1947, they are also the third longest cave in the UK stretching more than 30 miles.

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