Brecon Beacons cave rescue: Major operation underway to save trapped man after fall

  • At least eight cave rescue teams from across the UK are involved in the rescue operation.

A rescue operation involving almost 250 cavers is underway to save a man trapped in a cave in the Brecon Beacons.

The man fell while caving in the Ogof Ffynnon Ddu cave system near Ystradgynlais on Saturday (6 November).

Because of the injuries he suffered in the fall, the caver is said to be unable to climb out of the cave.

The man has been given medical treatment underground and other cavers have been with him while the rescue is organised.

One rescuer said the man fell “a considerable distance” from a ledge when a boulder came loose underground.

He added: “Doctors have been sent down with bags of pain relief. He is on some pretty strong stuff and being treated with a nasal cannula.”

Rescuers have been working in shifts for more than 48 hours to bring the injured man to safety.

Peter Francis, 74, a representative of South and Mid Wales Cave Rescue Team, has confirmed that the man's injuries, although multiple, are not life threatening.

"We're very optimistic now, it's a matter of time before we get him out'', said Francis.

"He's warm, he's stable. The doctor with him is monitoring him the whole time and we're not worried about him getting hypothermia."

While rescuers have managed to locate the man and put him on a stretcher, it could take another 10 hours before he is lifted out.

Located inside a nature reserve, Ogof Ffynnon Ddu - meaning Cave of the Black Spring - was discovered in 1946 and is 300m deep at its lowest point, with its underground caverns stretching to over 30 miles.

The cave can only be visited by specially equipped cavers and a permit is required to do so, according to Natural Resources Wales.

Rescue teams from across the UK are involved in the operation Credit: ITV Wales

The rescue mission is being led by the South and Mid Wales Cave Rescue Team - who previously helped save 12 young Thai footballers and their coach from flooded caves in July 2018.

At least eight more teams from across the UK are also involved in the rescue operation.

Paul Taylor, spokesman for South and Mid Wales Cave Rescue Team, said: "The incident started around 1pm on Saturday when a man who was with him alerted us that his partner had fallen.

"I don't actually know how many were in the group but there would've been more than two.

Crew are at the entrance of the cave where a rescue operation is taking place. Credit: Dean Thomas-Welch

"They had gone in the Cwmdoor entrance, which is the middle entrance, before he fell."

He added: ''We're moving him towards the top entrance. We've been keeping him on the move since it started.''

The latest total of cavers to join the operation now stands at 242. The rescuers involved are from: the Gloucester Cave Rescue Group, Midlands Cave Rescue Organisation, Derbyshire Cave Rescue Organisation, Mendip Cave Rescue, South East Cave Rescue Organisation, the Cave Rescue Organisation, and Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Association.

Another team of cavers have just gone in to relieve the previous team. It is said to be the longest rescue in South Wales caving history.

Due to bad weather, an air ambulance helicopter is unable to land. The rescue team are planning on transporting the man to hospital by car.