Caving incident in UK

Incident 91/2022 – 01/12/22 – 13:24

Having descended through Lower Long Churn into Alum Pot, a caver (m, 38) fell a distance of up to 5 or 6 m from the bottom pitch, sustaining suspected injuries to ankle, femur, lower back and chest.

Cave Rescue Organisation (CRO) members descended to the casualty, assessed his injuries, used a group shelter and heated waistcoat to warm him, administered pain relief and ‘packaged’ him in a vacuum mattress (whole-body splint) then placed him on a stretcher. This was hauled up the shaft by team members and firefighters of North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (NYF&RS) from Settle, passed over the surrounding wall to Yorkshire Ambulance Service Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) personnel and other CRO members who carried the stretcher and patient to a team Land Rover. This drove him down to Selside and the waiting road ambulance took him to hospital.

Agencies involved, other than CRO: North Yorkshire Police, NYF&RS, YAS HART and YAS (local crew). Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Association (UWFRA) caving members were put on stand-by but not called out.

Volunteer hours: 231

Footnote: The haul up the shaft involved an ‘English Reeve’. This consists of a high-line across the top of the shaft with a pulley system which can be moved to different points along the line. This allows the stretcher to be hauled up the centre of the shaft (even though the shaft may change shape) and pulled to the edge at the top. The ‘mechanical advantage’ gained by use of the pulley system makes hauling the weight easier.

Incident 90/2022 – 24/11/22 – 13:19

A caver (m, 54), on an exchange trip from Lancaster Hole to Cow Pot, slipped from the traverse in Bridge Hall, sustaining a slight head injury and knocking himself out briefly on landing. A loose rock also fell, landing on the caver’s wrist, causing an obvious fracture. Having made him as comfortable as possible and wrapped a Blizzard emergency exposure blanket round him, the caver’s wife exited the pot-hole to phone for help. On arrival, team members assessed the patient, gave him mild pain relief and splinted his wrist, after which he was able to walk with minimal assistance. Meanwhile, other team members had rigged a tripod over the Lancaster Hole entrance and the patient was hauled up the 33 m pitch. On the surface, he was able to walk gently back across the fell to Bullpot Farm, from where his wife was able to drive him to hospital for treatment. Team members recovered all the equipment, returned it to Clapham, cleaned it and left it all to dry before standing down.

Our thanks to the Red Rose C&PC for the use of Bullpot Farm as a base.

Volunteer hours: 122

Source: Cave Rescue Organisation