Cavers partially cleared but still face visa question

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The Mexican authorities have ended formal investigations into alleged "unauthorised activities" of the six British men detained after being rescued from a flooded cave last week.

The 13-strong expedition group is, however, still being questioned over possible visa irregularities. One of the men, Jonathan Sims, 41, said they felt that they had been used as "political pawns" but they remained hopeful of being released soon.

The head of the British army General Sir Michael Jackson said yesterday that the men had been victims of a "grave misunderstanding".

The six men, detained by Mexican authorities since they were rescued from a flooded cave complex near Cuetzalan on Thursday, were on a "joint-service, adventure-training expedition", General Sir Michael Jackson said. "There is quite a grave misunderstanding," he told ITV's Breakfast with Frost. Their purpose was "to explore these caves further than they had already been explored".

The immigration officials are investigating whether the group, which includes four Army officers, broke the terms of their tourist visas by mapping the caves, classified as a scientific activity. If found guilty, they could be deported, fined up to £180, or jailed for 18 months. The officials have until Monday morning local time to complete the questioning.