Police have praised a caver who raised the alarm after realising a party was trapped underground by rising water in the Yorkshire Dales.
The cavers, three adults and eight teenagers aged 15 and sixteen, became trapped in the Lower Long Churn system at Selside in Ribblesdale. The 11 were rescued by members of the Clapham-based Cave Rescue Organisation after the alarm was raised at 3.15pm yesterday.
The cavers, from Burnley, were on a day trip to the area from an outdoor centre in Lancashire.
North Yorkshire Police Sgt Angela Moorhouse, based at Ingleton, praised the action of the caver who raised the alarm. A spokesperson for the police said: “The alarm was raised by another caver who came out of the system after realising that the water level was increasing.
“On seeing the empty minibus parked at the car park he realised that people were still in the system and raised the alarm.”
Ambulance staff treated the 11 trapped potholers after they were brought to safety. One youth was taken to hospital suffering from mild hypothermia.
Novice caver Caroline Fletcher, 28, and her experienced colleague Stuart Goodwill, 33, died in Lower Long Churn in December last year after they were caught out by rising water levels.
Coroner Geoff Fell recorded an accidental-death verdict on the pair, whose bodies were found entangled in ropes by CRO rescuers.
Nine people were caught underground in May this year when heavy thunderstorms on nearby Ingleborough caused flash floods in the area and the party had to sit out the floods in Long Churn until waters subsided.