Cave death student's body recovered after 39 years

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The Independent Online

The body of a student who died while cave diving has been recovered 39 years after his death, police said today.

Paul Heinz Esser, 21, was exploring the Porth yr Ogof cave system at Ystradfellte in Powys, Mid Wales, when he died on February 13, 1971.

The remains of the Bristol University medical student were recovered by two members of the West Brecon Cave Rescue Team last Thursday.

A spokeswoman for Dyfed Powys Police said: "Although he was located at that time in the caves, his body was never able to be recovered despite several attempts over the following weeks and as a result he has remained in the location he died."

Powys Coroner Peter Maddox recorded a verdict of accidental death and said the cause of death remained "unascertained".

Family members, who were living in Surrey at the time, were at the scene as his remains were finally brought to the surface, and released to undertakers for burial.