Members of the 'through' team emerge in the early hours after traversing the system. Photo: UWFRA

Members of the 'through' team of rescuers emerge in the early hours after traversing the system. Photo: UWFRA

Two cavers were rescued from a Yorkshire Dales system in an operation involving 29 volunteer team members.

The two men, both 64, were unable to find the exit to the surface after making their way through Dowbergill Passage on the slopes of Great Whernside near Kettlewell.

An Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Association spokesperson said the team’s cavers were put on alert at 9.30pm on Wednesday when the pair were reported overdue, after entering Dow Cave at 11am.

A full callout followed and underground team members gathered at Kettlewell.

The spokesperson said: “Two teams were sent in via the Dow Cave entrance and a third team via the Providence Pot entrance, the expected exit point for the missing cavers.

“While the underground teams began the search, surface teams established radio locations at four separate points up on the moor to facilitate communications at key points in the cave.

“The missing cavers had completed the traverse of Dowbergill passage but had been unable to locate the exit point to Providence Pot despite searching for five hours.

“The missing cavers were located by the Providence Pot team and led out of the cave at 40 minutes past midnight; they were cold and somewhat embarrassed but otherwise unharmed after their 14-hour ordeal.

“The message that the cavers had been located was passed to the underground team at the Dow Cave end but the second team could not be contacted. They completed the through trip to Providence Pot and exited the cave at 3.30am.”

The UWFRA members completed their rescue operation at 4.15am.

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