Rescuers have reached an injured man who is stuck in an alpine cave, but the operation to bring him out may take several days.
The 52-year-old researcher, who has not been named, is trapped about 1km (0.6 miles) underground insideGermany’s deepest and longest cave located on the border with Austria.
Germany’s mountain rescue service says the man was able to walk with help. He was expected to be gradually lifted back to the surface through five stations that were being set up in the cave.
The German suffered head and chest injuries after being hit by falling rocks early on Sunday in the labyrinth-like Riesending cave system near Berchtesgaden.
To reach him, a six-member team from Germany, Austria and Switzerland had to cover some difficult terrain including vertical shafts and had to squeeze through narrow passages.
The man was exploring the cave with two other people, who were not hurt, when the incident happened 6km (3.7 miles) from the entrance.
One of them was able to get out and raise the alarm while the other stayed with him.
A radio-based communication system has been set up that allows rescuers to send text messages to the surface.
Around 200 helpers from across the region are helping with the operation in a remote mountainous area in southeast Germany.
“The conditions are extremely narrow, the rescue won’t be easy,” doctor Christoph Specht told news channel NTV.
“There are only a few people in Germany who know how to handle such a rescue.”
The cave, which has only been explored by researchers since 2002, is more than 19km long and up to 1.15km deep.
10 June 2014 | 10:31 pm – Source: orange.co.uk