Mendip Cave Rescue were called by Avon and Somerset Police at 13:26 on 2nd March 2022, concerning a caver unable to exit Swildons Hole in Priddy. One caver from a party of two had been unable to climb the '20 foot' ladder pitch in the upper streamway, due to fatigue. His caving partner had exited the cave to initiate the rescue and, with the casualty left alone in the cave, two cave rescue members were quickly despatched to provide immediate assistance, whilst a further team of three cave rescue members followed with hauling equipment, leaving one member as surface control and liaison with the Fire Crews. The casualty was soon assisted up the ladder and out of the cave, from where he made his own way home. The incident was closed at 17:11, with everyone and all the equipment back on the surface, and was attended by 6 MCR members in total.

Mendip Cave Rescue were called by Avon and Somerset Police via SARCALL at 21:24 on 26th January 2022, concerning a caver physically stuck in Reads Cavern in Burrington Combe. A party of 7 had entered the cave, and one caver had attempted an awkward squeeze in Zed Alley and found that they were unable to pass a rock constriction, and had become jammed and were unable to move forwards or back out of the squeeze. MCR members attempted to move the casualty, but quickly found that the area around the casualty needed enlarging before he could be moved. Eventually the casualty was freed by using drills and 'plug and feathers' to remove some rock from around his torso which enabled him to be slowly extricated from the squeeze. He was then able to make his way to the surface unaided. The SARCALL incident was closed at 02:57 on the 27th January, with everyone and all the equipment back on the surface, and was attended by 14 MCR members in total.

 

Establishing surface to underground communications using cave-link Team members waiting on the surface

Photographs taken by Estelle Sandford

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 GuardianMREW 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.

Mendip Cave Rescue were informed at 16:42 on Friday 10th September 2021 of an ongoing incident in Cheddar Gorge, when our colleagues from Avon and Somerset Search and Rescue requested some assistance via SARCALL in moving a female casualty who had slipped on a steep footpath and sustained a lower leg injury across some tricky ground and down to the roadside. 8 MCR members attended the incident and administered pain relief and assisted with the movement of the casualty as she was carefully moved across the difficult steep terrain to the waiting ambulance. The incident was closed at 19:12 with the casualty safely with the South Western Ambulance Service team.