A party of students is safe and well after being rescued from a flooded Yorkshire Dales cave.
Eleven young cavers and two adult leaders were trapped in Dow Cave, near Kettlewell, Wharfedale, by fast flowing water. The cave is about 22km (14 miles) from the cave where two potholers died last month.
The alarm was raised this afternoon by two other leaders who managed to escape from the waterlogged cave and call the emergency services.
Heavy rain has been falling today and for the past few days in the area.
A police spokesman said: “North Yorkshire Police were alerted about 2.45pm after a report that a party of 11 students from the Skipton-based Craven College and two adult leaders had become trapped in the cave by fast flowing water.
“Two other adult leaders in the party managed to wade out of the cave to raise the alarm.
“Police, fire and rescue and the ambulance service attended the scene to support the rescue effort, led by members of the Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Association. All 11 of the students, aged between 17 and 20, and the two remaining adult leaders, had been safely removed from the cave by 6.50pm and none of them was injured.”
The rescued cavers were taken down Park Rash in 4×4 vehicles to the Blue Bell Inn, Kettlewell, where they were given a check-over by medics. They were then reunited with their families, who were waiting at the college in Skipton.
Craven College principal Alan Blackwell promised a probe into the incident. He said: “I was notified immediately by my staff and was reassured that they had taken the students to an area of the cave which never floods and offers a safe haven.
“They kept the students in this safe area until the rescue services arrived. I would like to reassure parents that I will personally oversee an internal inquiry into the event leading up to the incident.”
Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Association, which led the operation to extricate the students and their leaders from Dow Cave, mounts rescues in both caves and on the fells in the eastern part of the Yorkshire Dales. Their counterpart, the Cave Rescue Organisation, covers the hills and potholes of the western Dales.
Dow Cave, on the slopes of Great Whernside, connects with Providence Pot, 1.75km (1 mile) away, in Dowber Gill. The full traverse to the Dowber Gill system is considered a challenge in route finding.