Mendip Cave Rescue were called by Avon and Somerset Police to an incident at St Cuthbert’s Swallet, Priddy at 18:31 on Sunday 1st March 2020, following a group of 5 cavers being reported overdue from their trip. On inspection it became clear that the constricted cave entrance had become impassable due to high water conditions. With Devon & Somerset Fire and Rescue teams diverting water, using portable pumping equipment, the water level was lowered sufficiently to allow cave rescue team members to enter the cave and make contact with the overdue party, who were located beyond the wet entrance passages, cold, but otherwise safe and well. With the water level considered still too high for a safe exit further pumping was carried out before it was deemed safe to assist the cavers through the constricted entrance passage to the surface. Once out of the cave, the cavers, who were all now very cold and wet, were quickly assessed by the waiting South Western Ambulance Service personnel before leaving. The incident was completed by 21:44 and involved 17 cave rescue team members together with the attendance of a large contingent of Police, Fire and Ambulance personnel.
Mendip Cave Rescue were called by Avon and Somerset Police at 14:00 to attend a caving incident in Rods Pot, above Burrington Combe. The initial report indicated a single casualty who had sustained a knee injury as a result of a slip whilst on the return from an excursion to the deeper regions of the cave. A MCR team of rescue and medical specialists were deployed underground. Casualty assessment was carried out by MCR medical team which included specialist casualty care operators and a cave rescue doctor. The injuries were treated and stabilised at the scene of the underground accident and the casualty was able to make their way out of the cave with the assistance of the cave rescue team. On arrival at the surface, the casualty was assisted to the nearest access road and handed over to the awaiting South Western Ambulance Service ambulance by 16:34.
MCR would like to thank the emergency services personnel who helped and supported during the rescue. MCR would also note the resilience that was shown by the casualty which assisted the rescuers and helped to ensure a rapid return to the surface.
Mendip Cave Rescue were called by Avon and Somerset Police via SARCALL at 11:38 on 19th September 2019 to assist Avon & Somerset Search and Rescue with a search on Ebbor Gorge for a high risk missing person whose car had been found at the Ebbor Gorge car park. Ebbor Gorge contains a number of small, short caves where it would be possible to be out of sight of a surface search, so MCR were tasked with searching the underground sites within the gorge. Three MCR wardens plus a local expert met at the gorge at 12:20 and systematically searched all the viable underground sites without finding the missing person, and so closed the underground search at 17:02.
Note that Avon & Somerset Search and Rescue resumed the surface search of Ebbor Gorge on a second day, and unfortunately located the body of the missing person. Mendip Cave Rescue sends our condolences to the family and friends of the deceased.
Mendip Cave Rescue were called by Avon and Somerset Police via SARCALL at 12:20 on 21st August 2019 for an incident in Wookey Hole Caves in Wookey Hole. A female visitor in her mid 30s, had slipped and fallen during the show cave tour and landed on hip/shoulders and was complaining of neck pain. She couldn’t move and was feeling very cold in chamber 2 of the showcave. South Western Ambulance Service and HART were also called, although the HART team were stood down when MCR arrived. 4 wardens attended along with ambulance service and stabilised the casualty before transferring her to a stretcher and carrying to the entrance and handing over to the ambulance service. The incident was closed at 13:47 with the casualty safely in an ambulance.
Mendip Cave Rescue received a message from Wiltshire Police at 17:30 on Wednesday 20th February, regarding an incident involving a lost dog near Box Stone Mines. A Jack Russell terrier had apparently entered a small hole more than a day earlier and could be heard barking, but efforts to extract him had so far failed. Four local cavers met at Quarry Hill, Box at 18:15 as Dorset & Wiltshire Fire Service were departing. The Jack Russell (called "Patch") could be heard intermittently through a small hole clogged with leaf litter at the base of a rock outcrop. On inspection of the site it was decided that Patch did not get into the hole that way, so a search for an alternative way in was undertaken. A small, very old, low entry on the south side of the outcrop seemed most likely, so one caver crawled in calling to Patch, and coaxed him towards the entrance. A couple of minutes later Patch appeared on the surface for a slightly tearful reunion with his owners. Patch appeared uninjured and none the worse for its stay underground, and the incident was closed at 19:03.
Photographs of Patch kindly provided by Derek Hawkins