Two 'inexperienced cavers' rescued near Crickhowell after 16 hours trapped underground

The two men were reported missing on Saturday after failing to return to the surface. Credit: South & Mid Wales Cave Rescue Team

Two men described as "inexperienced cavers" have been rescued after 16 hours trapped underground.

A team of 60 volunteers were enlisted to help search the Ogof y Daren Cilau caving system in Llangattock, near Crickhowell, for the two missing individuals.

The worried families of the two men raised the alarm when their loved ones failed to surface on Saturday morning (January 8).

South & Mid Wales Cave Rescue Team (SMWCRT) led the rescue efforts and said the underground system the two men were lost in is "infamous for its gruelling entrance crawls".

Both explorers - aged 19 and 30 - were rescued and rewarmed at around 4pm on Saturday 8 January, after first entering the caves on Friday.

Dyfed Powys Police Chief Inspector Jacqui Lovatt said: "The missing individuals were inexperienced cavers."At 8:15am on Saturday, January 8, we received a report of two males, aged 19 and 30, who had been reported missing having left their homes in south Wales the previous afternoon.

"We attended Daren Cilau Caves near Crickhowell. A search commenced involving police and the South & Mid Wales Cave Rescue Team."Following an extensive search they were located safe and well, following around a 1km descent by rescue teams. After an initial assessment, thankfully both missing persons were located safe and well, at 3:50pm.

SMWCRT said the two cavers were soon located, supported back through the entrance crawl and rewarmed at the surface. Credit: South & Mid Wales Cave Rescue Team

"They had been stuck down the cave for over 16 hours, having gone caving on the Friday."

Chief Inspector Lovatt added: "The cave system itself is described as one of the biggest in the UK, covering an area of approximately 40km, with a large number of varying routes available within the system."

The Ogof y Daren Cilau is said to be a challenging network for cavers and includes a passage called the Time Machine which is believed to be the longest in the UK.

The cave - discovered more than 60 years ago - has a 517 metre entrance crawl making it difficult to get through and unsuitable for casual visitors.

SMWCRT are the same team who recovered caver George Linnane in November last year when he spent more than two days trapped in a cave in the Breacon Beacons. The organisation is entirely reliant on donations and volunteers.