First responders in Wales rescued an injured caver who sustained major injuries after falling 50 feet from a ledge. The mission took an astounding three days in total due to the intricate cave network. Interestingly, the man’s injuries are not life-threatening. Although, many seem serious. Reports state the outdoorsman attempted to grab hold of a boulder before it gave way which only made matters worse.
Nevertheless, authorities say the rescued man, while fading in and out of consciousness, was in good spirits considering the situation. Over the course of the three-day rescue, efforts entailed the help of 250 people. The majority worked 12-hour shifts to free the victim from the cave network. In total, the operation lasted 57 hours over the course of three days. It’s reportedly the longest of its kind to be conducted in Wales.
Further, according to the Daily Mail, the caver suffered “suspected” spinal injuries, a compound fracture to the leg, a broken breast and collar bone, a broken jaw, mouth injuries, and lacerations to the face. Considering the situation and the time the man spent down in the caverns, rescuers said he is “lucky to still be with us.”
Following his rescue, the man was brought to a nearby hospital to be treated. The Daily Mail said the caverns in which the caver fell are popular. It is the deepest and the third longest network in the UK. The tunnels within feature various levels covered with active streams and steep climbs with a total of three exits.
World’s Longest Cave System Grows 8 Miles
Caves are fascinating sources of exploration. While they can present great danger as seen above, they offer insight as to the underground workings of our planet. Of all the cave systems internationally, Outsiders have the world’s longest network right here in the U.S.
And it’s apparently getting longer. Not to suggest the cave itself is growing and stretching. Although that would be pretty fascinating. No, in September, members of the Cave Research Foundation discovered an additional eight miles within Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave National Park network, bringing its length to an impressive 420 miles.
In their research, the CRF members stated they “spen[t] hours crawling, climbing, and rappelling through cave passageways” to map out the extent of the network.
The cave network boasts a massive size. However, it is also incredibly ancient compared to the existence of Kentucky as a state. The Daily Mail reports the state’s Mammoth Cave network is 10 million years old. Pioneers didn’t rediscover it until the 1790s, with human use proofed as early as 5,000 years ago.
Further, while the discovery and exploration of the cave’s extent is truly remarkable, what makes it even more so is that all the work is done by volunteers. Outsiders everywhere have access and knowledge regarding Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave network due to the long, hard work of dedicated and strong-willed volunteers.