German cave rescue: Johann Westhauser almost at the surface, say experts
The injured researcher could be above ground by Thursday or Friday
Rescue teams racing to save an injured researcher from the deepest cave in Germany have almost reached the end of their operation, according to officials.
Workers are nearing the final base station, and will begin moving Johann Westhauser after a few hours of rest, BBC News reported on Wednesday.
The 52-year-old sustained head injuries on 8 June while he was nearly 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) underground in the Riesending cave system in the Alps near the Austrian border.
One of the potholer's two uninjured companions alerted the authorities to the injury by making a 12-hour climb back to the cave entrance, while the other researcher stayed behind.
It is believed he has suffered what doctors have described as a mild version of the crippling brain injury affecting the Formula One driver Michael Schumacher.
Experts from Germany, Austria and Switzerland began their attempt to bring Westhauser, who is strapped to a stretcher, to the surface last Friday by navigating the cave system which includes some 1,000ft vertical drops.
On Tuesday, they announced they had raised him to about 500 meters (1,640 feet) below the ground and that Westhauser was conscious and reportedly able to walk - allaying fears that he might have been paralysed.
Read more: Westhauser was in search of 'super cave'
At the time, Mountain rescue official Stefan Schneider told reporters the operation is on schedule.
He added: “Let's wait and see whether the rescue we're all eagerly awaiting comes off on Thursday or Friday.”
Westhauser was reportedly one of the team who discovered the cave system in 1995, and was attempting to uncover a "super cave" that has eluded geologists and explorers for decades when he became trapped.
Additional reporting by AP
- 1 British tourists 'murdered' in Thailand: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
- 2 Vivienne Westwood says 'Yes' to Scottish Independence by declaring: 'I hate England'
- 3 Welcome to Cameroon, where drinking Baileys can lead to imprisonment
- 4 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
- 5 Vogue under fire for 'Big Booty' article
British tourists 'murdered' in Thailand: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
Jihadi John': MI5 may have identified Isis militant who killed David Haines but options limited
Vivienne Westwood says 'Yes' to Scottish Independence by declaring: 'I hate England'
David Haines beheading: David Cameron says Britain will hunt down Isis 'monsters' shown in video murdering aid worker
Piers Morgan attempts to save the Union by promising to go back to the US if Scotland votes 'No' to independence
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
Salmond accused of laughing off national debt with ‘what are they going to do: invade?’ joke
£400000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Energy Markets An...
£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...
£22000 - £23000 per annum: Randstad Education Bristol: We are currently recrui...
£35000 - £40000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...