A woman has died after becoming trapped in a sea cave off the Dorset coast yesterday afternoon.
Rescue teams were called after walkers spotted a man in the sea close to Tilly Whim Caves. Once airlifted to safety, he told the coastguards that his sister had become trapped in a tiny cave that could only be accessed underwater or through a tiny blowhole.
The woman was alive when rescuers arrived on the scene but treacherous conditions prevented them from getting to her.
In an online incident report, Swanage Coastguard, one of the teams that attended the scene. said: “Entry to the cave was either underwater, or through a narrow blowhole at the top of the cave.
“The rescue was considered to be at the very edge of our technical capability.”
After over an hour of battling 50 mile per hour gusts of wind, a St Albans' Cliff Technician “showed exceptional courage” and decided to enter the cave through the blowhole. The woman had however died by the time the officer reached her.
“The lifeboat crews had tried to reach the woman through the opening in the front and entering the blowhole from the top was the last resort,” a spokesperson for Portland Coastguard told the Dorset Echo.
“They had been communicating with the woman through the blowhole. Sadly, when the officer lowered down through the hole, it was too late and they couldn't get to her.”