The 250-strong rescue team worked round the clock to get through narrow passages within a massive underground human chain that had collapsed after a caver was trapped in a deep cave.

A man in his 40s was rescued from Ogof Ffynnon Dru at 7.45pm Monday. Workers worked 12-hour shifts to get the man on a stretcher out of the caves. 

Photographs capture the men in distress as rescuers maneuver through caves to get to the man.

The man was lifted onto the surface and cheered as he was helped to his cave rescue Land Rover. He could then be taken to an ambulance. 

It took 57 hours to complete the operation. Images show many people wearing caving gear on the spot.  

Nearly 250 emergency workers – including those who helped save 12 Thai footballers in 2018 — were meticulously taking the wounded man to safety through narrow tunnels and streams, while also transporting him on stretchers. 

The man in his 40s was pulled out of the caves at Ogof Ffynnon Ddu at 7.45pm on Monday after the workers took on 12-hour shifts to move the man out of the system on a stretcher

After working 12-hour shifts on Monday to lift the 40-year old man from Ogof Ffynnon Ddu, the workers were able to pull him out on a stretcher.

Rescuers from the South and Mid Wales Cave Rescue Team in the Ogof Ffynnon Ddu cave during the rescue are pictured showing the tighter sections

Photographs taken by rescuers from South and Mid Wales Cave Rescue Team during the rescue of Ogof Ffynnon Du cave are shown to show the narrower sections

Rescuers from the South and Mid Wales Cave Rescue Team

A rescuer shows a particularly tight spot

Photographs of the rescuers as they navigate through caves and reach the man in need show their tightness.

The caver – who is understood to be from Hampshire and was staying in a £9-a-night cottage near the entrance to the caves – fell on Saturday after a boulder came loose in a section of the network known as Cwm Dwr, Welsh for Water Valley. 

A second caver was there to help the man. Police called specialist rescuers on Saturday, but were unable to save him. This cave system measures in at 37 miles, which makes it Britain’s third-longest. 

Julian Carter was the South and Mid Wales Rescue Team’s warden. He said that although the scene was not very dry, it was still dark. The team had been trying to keep the man warm so a floating stretcher was put in place. Teams were moving the injured man along an active stream.

According to him, “It’s been difficult because we weren’t able to take this person out of their nearest entrance. It was an excellent experience. It’s very easy to keep people warm without causing hypothermia. 

Monday saw rescuers working 12-hour shifts in order to finish the difficult task. He said that he was “in a bad mood” and was happy to be here. He is not expected to survive.   

After being lifted to the surface the man, who suffered a broken leg and jaw, was clapped and cheered before being helped into a cave rescue Land Rover ready to be transported down to a waiting ambulance

Man, with broken jaw and leg, was lifted up to the surface. Then, he was cheered as he was helped to into the cave rescue Land Rover.

The operation, which took 57 hours, was the longest of its kind to be conducted in Wales, and images show dozens of people in caving gear at the site

This operation took 57 hour and was longest in Wales. Photos show numerous people caving at the site.

Nearly 250 emergency responders - including the team who saved 12 young Thai footballers in 2018 - were painstakingly transporting the injured man on a stretcher through narrow caverns interspersed with gushing streams and waterfalls

Nearly 250 emergency personnel – which included the 12 Thai soccer players who were saved in 2018, were involved in transporting an injured man to safety through narrow caves and over waterfalls.

He fell into the CwmDwr cave, which is Welsh for “water valley” – just a few meters from where he entered. He was too injured to be taken out of the cave.

The rescue crew had to drag him by another route, past two caving landmarks: Marble Showers and Great Oxbow, to get to the top at Top Entrance. 

Seven additional specialist teams from the UK travelled to the rescue operation with equipment vans.

For a time, he was unconscious and had suffered spinal injuries. A compound fracture of his leg broke both his fibula as well as his tibia. Broken breast bone, collar bone, and broken bone were all among his injuries. 

According to legend, the man first fell about 50ft off a ledge. Then he grabbed onto a boulder in an effort to stop his fall. He fell further when the boulder began to give way. The boulder landed on him, knocking him unconscious.

According to one rescuer, he also became unconscious over a period of time. This is worrying considering the distance he fell. He fell with the boulder, which made matters worse.

Seven other specialist teams travelled from across the UK to join the rescue effort with equipment vans from across Britain

The rescue operation was joined by seven other specialists teams from the UK, who were accompanied with equipment vans.

Commenting on the condition of the rescued caver, the emergency services liaison officer Gary Evans said that the rescued man was 'doing remarkably well' considering how long he had been in the cave for

Gary Evans, emergency services liaison officer said Gary Evans was impressed with the rescue man’s condition considering the time he’d been trapped in the caver.

“Doctors were sent with pain relief bags. His pain relief is pretty good. He’s being managed with a nasal cannula.

The man had to be rescued by an air ambulance and taken to Morriston Hospital, Swansea. However, the weather prevented the helicopter from landing. 

Gary Evans, an emergency services liaison officer, stated to the BBC that the casualty is doing well considering how long the caver has been trapped in it and how much time he was in the stretcher.

“He’s currently being assessed and we’ll have more information in a matter of minutes.”

According to one rescuer, ‘He was very lucky to survive the fall. The unconscious man was conscious for only a few minutes and was still in severe pain when he woke up. The rescue team includes two accident and emergency specialists, so the patient is in safe hands. They have given him a lot of morphine, and fitted a cannula so that fluids could be injected.

One other said that he was unconscious for a period and that it is very concerning because of the distance he fell.

Working in shifts, some 250 workers (pictured) moved the man out of the cave system on a stretcher

Some 250 people (pictured) helped the man get out of the cave on a stretcher, working in shifts.

Pictured: A group of the rescue workers are briefed on the mission ahead of entering the cave system earlier Monday

Pictured: Rescue workers receive an overview of their mission before entering the cave system on Monday.

“I believe he was carrying the boulder, and that only made it worse.  

Rescuers for the man came from Gloucester Cave Rescue Group and Midlands Cave Rescue Organisation. Derbyshire Cave Rescue Organisation was also involved. Mendip Cave Rescue, South East Cave Rescue Organisation and Cave Rescue Organisation were all part of the rescue operation. Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Association was another.

South and Mid Wales Cave Rescue Team were contacted to aid in 2018 rescue of the Tham Luang Nang Non Cave when Wild Boars Junior Football Team became trapped.

They were trapped underground for 18 days until they were freed. The first voice that they heard was John Volanthen, a Welsh caver.

A registered charity, the rescue group was originally established to assist cavers in exploring caves in Wales’ Neath and Swansea areas. However, it has expanded to address emergencies all across Wales.

The tragic search for April Jones, a missing schoolgirl, also included them. 

A previous statement by the cave rescue headquarters stated that: “On Saturday, a male cave diver was taking a trip into the Ogof FD cave system. He fell and sustained injuries which prevented him from exiting under his own steam.

“Another caver reported the incident to the police, and South and Mid Wales Cave Resuce teams initiated a response.

“This is a continuing incident that involves multiple teams across the UK.

“This incident continued throughout the night. The casualty is being moved to the entrance at the peak of the cave, which can be found up on the mountain.

The caver was unconscious for 'some time' and suffered suspected spinal injuries. Pictured are rescue workers by the cave entrance Monday

It was believed that the caver had suffered spinal injuries and became unconscious after being left for some time. Rescue workers are seen at the cave entrance on Monday.

Rescue teams are pictured Monday gathering outside the entrance to the Ogof Ffynnon Ddu cave system in an isolated part of the Brecon Beacons

On Monday rescue teams were seen gathered outside Ogof Ffynnon Ddu, a cave system that is isolated in the Brecon Beacons. 

The length of the caves and presence of features like underground rivers made the rescue particularly difficult (pictured are rescuers near the cave entrance Monday)

Rescue was difficult because of the length of the caves, as well as the presence of underground rivers. (Photo: Monday rescuers at the cave entrance. 

Teams are currently working 12-hour shifts under cold and damp conditions. Rescue missions should proceed’slowly, but carefully’

While the rescue plan was being put in place, underground medical care was provided to the caver. Other cavers also stayed with him. According to one caver, although the process will be slow and not easy for him, we believe we can rescue him.

“We believe that it will take him ten times as long to bring him back than to get there. It could be that it took him 3 hours to get to the area where he was hurt, and it might take us up to 30 hours to return him. Safety and proper execution are the key factors.

Regular cavers said that it was a popular cave system and is very well-known among cavers. It’s also located in the middle of nature reserves. It is a popular cave system and should be preferred by more experienced cavers to novices.

Paul Francis was one of the most experienced cave rescuers and is the person responsible for discovering parts of the cave. He called it “an unfortunate, accidental accident”.

He stated that the incident was a single-off. “This is not a great cave system. It is Himalayan-standard by cave standards but it’s quite safe. It’s more common to get hit by a bus that this happens to you. 

The Ogof Ffynnon Ddu system was discovered by the South Wales Caving Club in 1946, according to Natural Resources Wales. Pictured here is are the South & Mid Wales Cave Rescue Team in the caves on a training exercise

Natural Resources Wales states that the South Wales Caving Club found Ogof FfynnonDdu in 1946. Pictured here is are the South & Mid Wales Cave Rescue Team in the caves on a training exercise 

Picture shows the entrance and exit hole of the cave which rescuers used to save the man

The picture shows the entrance hole and exit hole to the cave that rescuers used in order to save the man.

Rescuers near Penwyllt, Powys in the Brecon Beacons, where weather conditions were cloudy with limited visibility Monday

Powys in Brecon Beacons, near Penwyllt. The weather conditions Monday were cloudy, with little visibility.

A map showing the enormous case system, which features several underground streams and waterfalls

This map shows the vast case system which includes many underground streams as well as waterfalls.

An ambulance was pictured at the scene on Monday standing ready to treat any casualties

On Monday, an ambulance stood ready at the scene to help any injured.

Natural Resources Wales states that the South Wales Caving Club discovered caves in 1946.

Only cavers can access them with permission from the caving club.

This guide is a classic in the UK. It contains passages that offer everything: huge chambers, stunning formations, yawning valleys, and thundering river passages.

The cave is accessible by numerous routes.

You are advised to be aware of flooding in the main cave and the other sections. Also, the journey down the mainline is often cold and damp. 

“I’m mighty glad that I’m out of there”: MailOnline unveils first words of a caver who was rescued from the Brecon Beacons after he fell. MailOnline recounts the incredible story of how the man, who had been severely injured, made it back to the surface.

Rory Tingle, MailOnline Correspondent Home Affairs, 

A caver was thrown 50 feet from the edge of a mountain, deep beneath the Brecon Beacons. This set off an amazing chain of events. Rescuers all over Britain rallied to help him.

Some 250 other cavers carried him through the OgofFynnonDdu cave system in 12 hour shifts, navigating narrow passageways as narrow and tight as their shoulders. There were also waterfalls and streams interspersed.

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 pm 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.

MailOnline was told by a witness that his first words were “I’m mighty happy to be out there”.  

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 badly damaged returned to the surface. 


Saturdays – Midday

You can reach as far underground as 900ft 

Near the CwmDwr cave entrance, the caver is believed to have fallen at least 50ft. The caver is said to have fallen off a ledge, before reaching for a rock to help him fall. 

The boulder began to move, and he fell further. The boulder landed on him, knocking him unconscious.

“He was very lucky to survive the fall,” said one of the rescuers. After being unconscious for about one minute, he was in severe pain and was unable to move when he was revived.  

The injury he sustained was suspected to be spinal. He also suffered a fracture in his pelvis, which broke both his fibula as well as his tibia.   

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

File photo showing a fall near the cave section where the caver was lowered. It is seriously damaged.


Saturdays – approximately 1pm  

A second caver is also present with the man injured and notifies police. They then call specialist rescuers on that day. 

He is not able to be moved by the rescuers who reach him in the caver. Due to his injuries, it is decided that he can’t be evacuated 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. 

To keep him warm, blankets and heat pack should be used. Two of the rescue team are understood to be A&E consultants. 

The canula is attached to him and fluids and morphine are administered. 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 is leading the rescue operation. This team previously assisted in saving 12 Thai young footballers and their coach, who were trapped by floodwaters in caves.

Seven additional specialist teams are also available from the UK, as well as North Yorkshire and Essex to offer equipment and join us.  

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

A rescuer said that while it would be slow, they are certain that we will get the man out of his misery for treatment.

“We assume that it will take 10 times more to remove him than it took to reach the spot where he was injured. If it took him three hours for him to get there, it might take us thirty hours to return him.

“It is about safety and doing things correctly.

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

They are pictured near the entrance to Ogof Ffynon Ddu caves. Seven additional specialist teams also travel across the UK, as far as North Yorkshire or Essex. These men are seen near the Ogoffynon-Ddu 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. 

One caver tells The Times, “Think of it as crawling under your dining-room chairs,” after spending eight hours underground. 

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 pulling the wounded caver 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

The rescue workers worked in shifts and passed the man through the cave system in a stretcher. This is the longest passageway in Britain.

Teams winch heavily-sedated victims up rescue routes using ropes that are bolted to them. 

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 way” and said that he was ‘lucky enough to be here’. 

There are up to 70 people involved underground at one time, which is 250 total. 


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. 

Rescuers cheer him on before he is helped to the cave rescue Land Rover and taken to an ambulance. 

He is said to be in good spirits and that his injuries aren’t life-threatening. He was heard to say, “I mightly happy to be out of here.”  

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.

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

This operation was the longest ever conducted in Wales.  

A number of South Wales Ambulance Service cars are present, as well as a team that is trained to handle large-scale emergencies.

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

A rescuer said, “It was hard work. 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 56 hours and 45 minutes and spanned nearly three days, is the longest of its kind to be conducted in Wales

It took almost three days to complete and it was nearly 56 hours long. 

Paul Taylor, another member of the caving group, stated that he could manage to speak a few words as he was being carried from the cave’s mouth to an ambulance. 

“He stated that he was mighty relieved not to have to go there.” 

He made it! He wasn’t feeling the same relief as he did when he broke his leg. 

Taylor claimed that rescue workers used cabling to contact the victim during the operation. This was to help locate and transport him safely. 

He explained that cabling is based on induction. This works in a similar way to when iron filings can be manipulated with a magnet. You can send messages through underground rock without a phone signal.

“This helped the rescue crew assess his condition, keep him updated about what was happening and how close they came to getting him out. 

“The guys did everything they could to help him get up. We are so grateful for all their bravery. He was saved by them. 

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

Three days of the most difficult operation in Wales has been completed. The original plan was for the man to be taken to hospital via an air ambulance. However, the weather prevented the helicopter from landing. Instead, the man was brought from the cave and transported by car to hospital.