'Huge relief' as injured man pulled alive from Welsh cave after being trapped for two days

8 November 2021, 20:07 | Updated: 9 November 2021, 06:39

By Sophie Barnett

A man who was rescued from a cave after a 54-hour ordeal is doing "remarkably well", rescuers have said.

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Gary Evans, the emergency services liaison officer, told reporters: "The casualty is doing remarkably well, if you consider how long he's been in the cave, how long he's been in a stretcher - he's doing very well indeed.

"He's being assessed at the moment and we'll know more in a short while."

Asked how he felt about the success of the operation, Mr Evans added: "We're absolutely delighted, we're delighted because it was a difficult rescue and we're delighted because the casualty has done really well considering what's happened."

Officials say the man, in his mid-40s, was brought out of the cave in the Brecon Beacons around quarter to eight on Monday evening.

He'd been inside the cave, in Ogof Ffynnon Ddu, since Saturday afternoon, but couldn't climb out because of his injuries.

He was clapped and cheered by rescuers as he was brought out of the cave, before being helped into a cave rescue Land Rover ready to be taken to hospital.

His injuries are said to be non-life threatening, but are believed to include a broken jaw, leg, and spinal injuries.

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Peter Francis, a spokesperson for South & Mid Wales Cave Rescue Team, said the rescue is the longest in South Wales caving history.

The 74-year-old said: "This is the longest rescue we've ever done but we're very pleased with the progress being made.

"The caver was very unlucky here. He's an experienced caver, a fit caver. And it was a matter of putting his foot in the wrong place.

"He wasn't in a dangerous part of the cave, it's just something moved from under him."

The rescue took more than 50 hours.
The rescue took more than 50 hours. Picture: Alamy

Speaking after the man was above ground, rescuer Steve Thomas said it was "fabulous" to be a part of the historic moment.

"I'm feeling great - very very tired, very relieved and just more than anything happy," he told LBC's reporter Daniel Bevan.

"The moment we brought him out, it was just great. We always knew we would, it was just nice to of done it."

He praised the "huge collective effort", and said it was a "huge relief" to have rescued the man safely.

Hundreds of people took part in the rescue mission.
Hundreds of people took part in the rescue mission. Picture: Alamy

More than 240 people were at the scene amid heavy fog on Monday, with ambulances waiting for the man - described as an experienced caver - to be brought out.

Only experienced cavers are given permission to explore inside Ogof Ffynnon Ddu, which means "Cave of the Black Spring".

It was discovered in 1946 and stretches to 300m deep at its lowest point, while its underground caverns run for more than 30 miles.