An inquest was opened and adjourned today into the deaths of the two cavers in the Yorkshire Dales.
Cavers tackle a pitch in Lower Long Churn Cave
The bodies of Caroline Jane Fletcher, 28, from Riddlesden in Keighley, West Yorkshire, and 33-year-old Stuart John Goodwill of Darlington, Co Durham, were recovered from Dam Pool in Lower Long Churn Cave, at Selside, in Ribblesdale, North Yorkshire. Coroner Geoff Fell told grough today that he has not set a date for the full hearing and that police will be interviewing rescuers to try to determine the facts of the pair’s death.
Further details have emerged about the circumstances of the discovery of the man and woman. Mr Goodwill’s wife had reported him missing at 12.30am on Friday, 28 December. He had left information that he would be going into the Yordas Cave system in Kingsdale.
North Yorkshire Police searched Kingsdale but there was no sign of the man’s car. Rescuers then mounted a search of well known caving locations in the area and an hour and a half later, the cavers’ car was found in Alum Pot Lane, Selside. Members of the Cave Rescue Organisation (CRO) then started a search of the Alum Pot and Long Churn systems and the bodies were found at 3.20am by CRO member Fred Weekes.
Rae Lonsdale, who oversaw communications for the operation at the CRO’s Clapham headquarters, said: “They were found at a place which, in normal circumstances, is just a minute from the entrance of the cave.”
Lower Long Churn, where the cavers died, is not considered a dangerous passage. He told grough: “It is a long time since we had a fatality in Long Churn.
“You can really make it as easy or as big a challenge as you want.”
Ms Fletcher and Mr Goodwill both died from drowning. It is understood the man was an experienced caver.