Two cavers are safe after being trapped underground in a south Wales cave for 30 hours.
The two men, in their 30s and from Gloucestershire and south Wales, were trapped by rising water but took refuge in a dry area of the Dan-yr-Ogof system in the Swansea Valley. They were brought to the surface this evening.
The Dan-yr-Ogof system
The emergency services were alerted by staff at the National Showcaves Centre for Wales, which is part of the complex, after the cavers failed to return about 10pm last night. Rescuers from the West Brecon Cave Rescue Team made contact with the men early this morning.
Gary Mitchell, of the West Brecon Cave Rescue Team, said the men waited for the water to subside before ‘essentially, rescuing themselves’ but with the team’s assistance.
He said they were in good spirits when they reached the surface. It had been a fantastic team effort, he aded.
A diving team had earlier made its way into the system, and needed to negotiate four pools to get to the men, who were in an area which had a cache of emergency food and equipment.
Mr Mitchell said the rescuers had earlier made contact with the two. He told ITN: “They're both fine. We’ve had communication with them and they're in good spirits, but a little bit cold and tired.
“They are in no danger from the water.
“They have found a rescue cache containing food, warm clothes, a stove and candles, that is left in the caves in case of emergency.”
Fifteen cave rescuers were involved in the operation.
Access to the Dan-yr-Ogof system which lies beyond the showcave is managed by a cave advisory committee and involves a permit system. Only three parties are allowed in at one time and cavers are encouraged to use a destination board at South Wales Caving Club’s headquarters at Penwyllt.
The cavers’ part of the system is accessed after a ten-minute walk through the show cave. It is classified as a national nature reserve and is not open to novices. All cavers must be accompanied by a warden familiar with the system.
The ten miles of discovered caves are believed to be part of a more extensive system which is still being explored.