The entrance to Lower Long Churn CaveTwo cavers died after drowning in the Yorkshire Dales last night.

The bodies of the two were found by rescuers in the Long Churn system at Selside, Ribblesdale.

The entrance to Lower Long Churn Cave 

They were a man aged 33 from the Darlington area and a 28-year-old woman from West Yorkshire.

The wife of the man alerted police when he failed to return home on Thursday evening. A North Yorkshire police spokesman said:  “We spent most of the night, along with cave rescuers, searching Yordas Caves. This was in response to a report that someone’s husband had failed to return home.” 

The operation was carried out by the Clapham-based Cave Rescue Organisation, led by Rae Lonsdale.

However, the search then switched from the Yordas system, in Kingsdale, north of Ingleton, to the Alum Pot area, 8km (5 miles) away, after the discovery of the cavers’ vehicle. Their bodies were found in Plank Pool in Lower Long Churn Cave about 3.20am today.

The Long Churn system is not considered a difficult caving challenge and is used by schoolchildren and beginners. Last month, grough spent a day in Long Churn as part of the Yorkshire Subterranean Society’s Try Caving weekend.

However, heavy rain had lashed the area all day and water levels of rivers and becks in the area were high.

The cavers’ bodies have not yet been formally identified. A spokeswoman for North Yorkshire Police said names would not be released until next week.