Rescuer describes moment she held George Linnane's hand in Brecon Beacons cave operation

  • Report by Dean Thomas-Welch

A man who sparked a 53 hour rescue operation after falling and injuring himself in a cave in South Wales has been named as George Linnane.

Mr Linnane, who is in his 40s and from Bristol, is receiving treatment at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff for a range of injuries to his legs, chest and head after a boulder fell on him in the Ogof Ffynon Ddu cave system on Saturday. 

250 people from cave rescue teams from across the UK worked for more than 50 hours to bring Mr Linnane to the surface, finally getting him out around 8pm on Monday.

George Linnane Credit: Andy Torbet/

The operation to recover him is believed to have included the longest stretcher carry in UK cave rescue history. 

Maxine Bateman, a friend of Mr Linnane, was part of the rescue team. She told ITV News about the rescue.

"At one point he was lying on the stretcher across a few of our laps and I could reach out and hold his hand.

"I did that because I thought that's something I would like if I was in that situation, a bit of comfort.

"He gave me a really nice hand squeeze and that, I felt, was his way of saying thanks to us for all being there for him and his way of letting us know that he was ok".

Teams worked in shifts to rescue George Linnane Credit: PA

Ms Bateman started a 13-hour shift in the cave at 6am on Sunday morning, carrying rescue equipment and the stretcher before working in communications with people on the surface.

"I was quite upset," she added but said: "I put those emotions to one side and got on with the job in hand".

Before the call out, Ms Bateman had been rescue training in Somerset when the emergency call came in.

250 people from cave rescue teams from across the UK worked for more than 50 hours to bring Mr Linnane to the surface Credit: PA

Andy Freem, one of the rescuers tasked with lifting Mr Linnane out of the cave on Monday night said: "He was elated. He was able to chat and was very pleased to be out."

During the rescue attempt, George Linnane's mum - Sally Linnane-Hemmens - took to Twitter and said: "This is my son - he is still down there, this is the third day. I feel broken."

It's understood Mr Linnane's family are supporting him at his hospital bed.