Mendip Cave Rescue
Mendip Cave Rescue were informed at 16:57 on Saturday 6th November 2021 and put on standby for a major incident in Ogof Ffynnon Ddu ("OFD"), a major cave system in South Wales. A caver had sustained significant multiple injuries after a fall, at approximately 13:00 in the Smithy area of the cave and a protracted rescue had commenced, coordinated by our colleagues in South & Mid Wales Cave Rescue Team. Over the course of the following 48+ hours, numerous MCR members attended the incident, working alongside members of other cave rescue teams from across the country, and assisted in slowly and carefully moving the casualty along the streamway and up and out of the OFD top entrance. The casualty was successfully taken to the surface and handed over to the waiting paramedics at 19:45 on Monday 8th November, approximately 55 hours after he had sustained the fall. Throughout this rescue, the casualty had shown remarkable resilience and we wish the casualty all the best for his recovery.
This incident was the largest cave rescue in the UK for many years, and attracted a large amount of media attention from various media sources, including the BBC, the Guardian, MREW and the Metro. South and Mid Wales Cave Rescue have provided more details on their Facebook page.
Mendip Cave Rescue were called by Avon and Somerset Police via SARCALL at 00:49 on 21st October 2021, concerning an overdue party visiting Eastwater Cavern in Priddy. A mixed group of 5 cavers were trapped beyond the entrance boulder ruckle due to rising floodwater. Mendip Cave Rescue worked alongside Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service and the police for this incident. The fire service used pumping equipment to lower the water levels, whilst the water levels were also naturally dropping due to improvements in the weather. This allowed a group of 4 from Mendip Cave Rescue to enter the cave, locate the trapped party and escort them out of the cave. They were unharmed and were taken back to the Wessex Cave Club HQ at Upper Pitts to change and warm-up (thanks to the Wessex for their hospitality). The incident was closed at 04:28 and was attended by 7 MCR members in total.
Alan Gray, the Secretary of Mendip Cave Registry and Archive, has been collating reports of all caving rescue and incidents located in the Mendip Cave Rescue region, from early reports of an incident in Pen Park Hole in 1669 through to the current day. All these reports, plus newspaper articles and extracts from log books, have been compiled into a book giving a thorough history of the cave rescue incidents that have taken place over the last 350 years, along with some information about how cave rescue equipment has evolved over the years. All of Alan's hard work has resulted in a 750+ page PDF book, that is available as a free download from the MCRA website.