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250 Spelunkers Make History With Heart-Stopping 55-Hr Cave Rescue.

Wales cave rescuers

Experienced spelunkers know that when it comes to exploring caves, one wrong step can cost you your life.

The Ogof Ffynnon Ddu cave system in Brecon Beacons is the third-longest complex in Wales. Some of the caves are miles below the surface of the earth, stretching more than 31 miles through twisty tunnels some experts describe as “intestinal.” So when an experienced caver in his 40s had an accident and fell, it took a small army of rescuers to save his life.

After suffering an “incredibly unlucky” fall, the man had a host of injuries including a broken jaw, a broken leg, and a spinal cord injury. Unable to move on his own, his climbing partner called for help, and more than 250 volunteers from across the U.K. showed up!

Of the U.K.’s 16 cave rescue teams, 10 sent people to help with preparing routes, bringing in supplies, and carrying the man’s stretcher over the rough, uneven underground tunnels. About 70 people went underground to help, taking shifts to maneuver his stretcher both horizontally and vertically through the tight passages.

Rescuers said the injured man remained in good spirits throughout the 55-hour ordeal.

“He was remarkable throughout this and that made it an awful lot easier for all of us. We were chatting with him the whole time and talking with him. We had to be realistic with him about how long it was going to take but keeping everyone’s spirits up at the same time,” said Dr. Brendan Sloane of the British Cave Rescue Council, who spent about six hours with the victim. “He knew the system and knew it was going to take a long time and he was, frankly, remarkable.”

The team gave the man food, water, and pain medicine as they worked, but he was still in a lot of pain. Still, he kept a positive attitude that made a huge difference to his rescue workers!

The entire crowd cheered when the man was finally brought to the surface, where an ambulance was waiting. This mission will now go down in history as the longest cave rescue ever made in Wales.

“We often say in caving that an hour of caving equates to 10 hours of carrying a stretcher,” said Gary Evans of the South and Mid Wales Cave Rescue Team. “The main point is that the amount of effort that goes into training our rescuers really pays off for an instance like this.”

Many hands really do make light work! Thank you to all of these brave rescuers for risking their lives to get one of their own out of a deadly situation.

Don’t forget to share this incredible story of heroism miles below the ground.

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