Instructor drowns in underground rescue

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An outdoor pursuits instructor drowned in an underground pool saving the life of a 14-year-old boy.

Graham Lipp, 34, died after becoming trapped while helping the boy to safety, rescuers said yesterday.

Wayne Brown, pulled from the water at Porth-yr-Ogof caves near Ystradfellte, Powys, in the Brecon Beacons, was 'comfortable' at Neath General Hospital where he was being treated for hypothermia and shock.

He was among a party of eight teenagers on an outing on Wednesday organised by the Dolygaer adult education and probation centre, in Merthyr Tydfil.

Police said the boy got into difficulties as the group was leaving a pool in the cave system, which is a popular spot for adventure training courses.

Huw Thomas, of the West Brecon cave rescue team which recovered Mr Lipp's body, said: 'He swam back into the pool to rescue the boy, but got into difficulties himself.

'The current drew him under water and his legs got trapped in some tree roots. He undoubtedly saved the boy's life.'

Mr Lipp had been sucked beneath a rock ledge by the current and trapped in tree roots 12ft down after helping to hand over the unconscious boy.

Wayne's father, Phillip Brown, said: 'I feel deeply indebted for what that man did to save my son. He gave his life and I really can't imagine what his family are going through now.'

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