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  1. ITV Report

First dramatic video of rescue effort to free man trapped in one of Europe's deepest caves

A rescue team has filmed dramatic footage of the elaborate operation to rescue a German scientist who has been trapped deep in an underground cave for over a week.

On Sunday June 8th, Johann Westhauser was exploring the enormous Riesending complex near the Austrian border with two companions when he suffered head injuries from a rock fall.

His fellow potholers were not injured and one of them climbed for 12 hours out of the caves to alert mountain rescue teams to the situation, while the other stayed with 52-year-old Mr Westhauser.

On Thursday doctors had to travel some 2.5 miles into the caves to treat Mr Westhauser, who is believed to have suffered a brain injury, before deciding he was well enough to be lifted out.

Rescuers climb through the cave with the aid of ropes. Credit: APTN

A German army helicopter then delivered a massive container full of equipment to be used in the operation.

The rescue has taken place in stages with an Italian team taking over the operation on Sunday.

It could yet be days before Mr Westhauser is able to exit the huge cave complex.

The official in charge of the rescue, Andreas Wolf, told reporters almost 2,000 metres of ropes and 2,000 metres of telephone wire had been used.

An army helicopter had to lower this container full of equipment down to the cave. Credit: APTN

Mr Westhauser has apparently also been showing signs of hypothermia brought on by the very low temperature in the cave, so the team have wrapped him in styrofoam to keep him warm.

However the mountain rescue authorities remain positive about his condition.

Stefan Schneider, deputy head of Bavarian mountain rescue, said: "The patient is feeling very well in the stretcher. It's warm and he is hungry and eating and we are making good progress."