A caver (m, 38) fell about 8m, sustaining multiple injuries in the cave complex of Ogof Ffynnon Ddu, near Penwyllt, at the head of the Swansea Valley, South Wales, at lunchtime on Saturday. South & Mid-Wales Cave Rescue Team, realising the potential scale of rescue required, immediately called in Gloucestershire Cave Rescue Group, then over the next thirty hours, gradually called in cave rescue teams from further North. CRO and neighbours UWFRA were called at 16.00 on Sunday with a request for underground members to travel to South Wales overnight or the following morning. 18 CRO members (including members of our cavers’ list*) participated in shifts of a long and strenuous stretcher-carry, up the streamway, with the casualty being brought to the surface at 19:45 on Monday. A SMWCRT Land Rover then took him to meet a road ambulance for the journey to hospital and team members prepared to drive home.
Volunteer hours (CRO): 405.
By chance, also, three CRO members were caving in the area and staying at Penwyllt for the weekend. They assisted in the rescue, rigging climbs, carrying equipment and running communications for the first 18 hours. Their time is not included in the CRO total.
* In addition to operational and support members, CRO has a list of cavers who, while not wishing to be full, participating members, attend two training weekends each year and are willing to assist on large-scale incidents which are beyond the scope of the regular members – almost the same, ‘mutual aid’ principle as that on which CRO was founded over eighty years ago.