Injured man trapped in 1,000m-deep cave in Germany

 

The rescue of a 52-year-old man injured in a rockfall in a 1,000m-deep (3,280ft) cave could take days, emergency crews have warned.

Police said the rescue effort could take days as experts negotiate a tricky labyrinth of vertical shafts and bottlenecks.

A four-member rescue team reached the German cave researcher early today inside the Riesending cave system, near Berchtesgaden in Germany's south-eastern corner, police said.

The man had suffered head and upper body injuries a day earlier. One of his two uninjured companions made a 12-hour climb back to the cave entrance to alert authorities, while the other stayed with him.

The injured man is nearly 1,000 metres underground "in one of the most difficult caves in Europe", mountain rescue official Klemens Reindl told n-tv television.

"We have shafts that go straight down 350 metres (1,150 feet), where you have to rappel down and climb back up on a rope," he said.

The cave system has tight spots where only a slim person can squeeze through, and explorers also have to contend with water, the mountain rescue service said.

Rescuers laid a telephone line several hundred metres deep to help the rescue effort, while others set up camps inside the cave system on the border with Austria. They were working in several small teams of up to four people each.

Some 52 cave rescue specialists from Bavaria and another 28 from Austria were at the scene.

PA

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