A caver was thrown 50ft off a mountain ledge in the Brecon Beacons by a gust of wind and fell to his death. This set off an amazing chain of events which saw rescuers all over Britain come together to help him.

Some 250 other cavers carried him through the OgofFynnonDdu caves in 12 hour shifts, navigating narrow passages and waterfalls.

Nearly 57 hours of operation, which is believed to have been the longest stretcher transport in British history, finally came to an end at 7.45 last night. The casualty was from Hampshire and aged in his 40s. He was then brought to the surface, applauded and taken by ambulance to the hospital.

According to reports, he was in good spirits, and will recover from the experience. He suffered a spinal injury and a fractured leg, including a complex fracture that broke both his fibula as well as his tibia. There were also broken collarbone and breast bones, as well as broken teeth, injuries to his mouth, and lacerations to his neck.

Here’s a story about how a caver that was dead and buried under water came back to life. 


Saturdays – Midday

Underground up to 900 feet 

At least 50ft falls the caver near Cwm Dwr’s entrance to the cave. It is thought that he fell off a ledge and then grabbed a boulder to stop his fall. 

He fell even more when the boulder gave in to his weight. He was then knocked out by the boulder as it landed on top.

“He was very lucky to survive the fall,” said one of the rescuers. After being unconscious for about one minute, he was in tremendous pain and then woke up.  

His injuries included a suspected spinal injury, a compound break to his leg, breaking his fibula/tibia and his collar bone, as well as a broken jaw and mouth injuries.   

A file photo of a drop near the section in the cave system where the caver fell and was seriously injured

Photo of a cave section where the caver fell.


Saturdays – approximately 1pm  

An additional caver joins the victim and informs police. Police then dispatch specialist rescuers to assist that very same day. 

He is not able to be moved by the rescuers who reach him in the caver. Aufgrund of the severity and extent of his injuries, it’s decided that he should not be moved from Cwn Dwr. 

It was decided that he would have to be stretched through another route to get to the top at Top Entrance, a mountain spot known for its caving attractions Marble Showers and Great Oxbow. 

The cavern is not located in an area with significant standing water but it has a cold, dank atmosphere. 

First, keep him warm with blankets or heat packs. Two of the rescue team are understood to be A&E consultants. 

A canula was fitted to his neck and fluids, as well as morphine and other medications are given. He is described as in his 40s, from Hampshire, and had been staying in a £9-a-night cottage near the entrance to the caves. At 37 miles in length they are Britain’s third longest.   


A huge mobilisation effort begins which sees 250 specialist rescuers, fellow cavers and mountain rescue teams flock to Ogof Ffynnon Ddu to help with the rescue. 

South and Mid Wales Cave Rescue Team will lead the rescue effort. They previously saved 12 Thai soccer players and their coach in flooded caves back in July 2018.

There are seven other teams of specialists that travel across the UK to help out and provide equipment.  

Julian Carter, a member of the Cave Rescue Team said that they are familiar with how to deal with these types of situations.

According to another rescuer, “It will be slow but we believe we can get him out of this situation for medical treatment.”

“We believe that it will take him ten times as long to bring him back than to get there. If it took him three hours for him to reach his injury, it might take us thirty hours to return him.

“It’s all about safety, and doing it right.

Seven other specialist teams travel from across the UK - as far away as North Yorkshire and Essex - to join in and offer their equipment. They are pictured near the entrance to the Ogof Ffynon Ddu caves

The seven other specialists teams are from all over the UK and come as far as North Yorkshire, Essex and Essex to offer their expertise. The group is pictured at the Ogof Fiynon Du cave entrance.


The exhausting job of carrying the caver through two miles of narrow passages, interspersed with gushing streams or waterfalls on a spinalboard requires teams to work 12 hour shifts. 

After eight hours of underground crawling, one caver told The Times that it was like crawling underneath your dining room chairs. 

For their own good, rescuers kept treats in their helmets.

Rescuers are seen carrying the injured caver one a stretcher through the cave system yesterday evening

Yesterday evening rescuers were seen carrying an injured caveman on a stretcher throughout the cave system.

Rescue workers operated in shifts, passing the man on the stretcher through the cave system - which is the third longest in the UK

Shifts of rescue workers were used to pass the man in the stretcher along the cave system. It is also the third-longest in the UK.

They winch heavy-sedated patients up special rescue routes that have been bolted secured with ropes. 

As teams transport the man through an active stream, a floating stretcher can be used. 

The rescuers described the victim as being in a bad mood and said that he was ‘lucky enough to still be with them’. 

Up to 70 underground members are currently involved in 250 individuals. 


8.45pm Monday, November 8  

Altitude – 1,217 ft 

After the rescue started, the victim was extracted from the cave near the top of the cave about 56 hours and 45 mins later. 

Before being taken down to a waiting ambulance, he’s cheered on by rescuers. 

The victim is said to be in good spirits and that his injuries aren’t life-threatening. 

The caver was clapped and cheered by rescuers before being helped into a cave rescue Land Rover ready to be transported down to a waiting ambulance

Before being taken to the waiting ambulance, rescuers cheered and clapped the caver.

The operation, which has taken 56 hours and 45 minutes and spanned nearly three days, is the longest of its kind to be conducted in Wales

This operation took 56 hours, 45 minutes, and was completed in just three days. 

Although mountain rescue is possible, thick fog, rain and wind mean that the man can’t be flown by helicopter to Morriston Hospital, Swansea. 

It is the longest operation of its type to take place in Wales.  

There are several South Wales Ambulance Service vehicles, along with a Hazardous Area Response Team who have been specially trained to respond to large-scale situations.

Rescuers have been supplied with oxygen cylinders for entry into caves. 

According to one rescuer, it was a bloody difficult task. However, it was well worth the effort. It could have been anyone of us. Knowing that there are cavers available to you to save your own life is a comforting thought.      

The operation, which has taken three days, is the longest of its kind to be conducted in Wales, with the man originally planned to be transported to hospital via air ambulance, but the wet weather meant the helicopter could not land. The man has instead been brought down from the cave entrance and is being transported to hospital by car

This three-day operation is longest in Wales. The man was originally supposed to be flown to the hospital by air ambulance but it was unable to land due to the rainy weather. Instead, the man was brought from the cave and transported by car to the hospital.