Tags: german | caver | rescued

German Caver Rescued After 11 Days Underground in the Alps

Image: German Caver Rescued After 11 Days Underground in the Alps
Rescue helpers carry injured cave explorer Johann Westhauser (C) on a stretcher near the entrance to the Riesending cave at Untersberg mountain near Marktschellenberg, Germany, 19 June 2014.

By    |   Thursday, 19 Jun 2014 03:08 PM

A German caver who was trapped for 11 days nearly 3,280 feet underground in the Alps was rescued Thursday and successfully brought to the surface in an operation that required the help of more than 700 people.

Johann Westhauser, 52, was in the Riesending cave system with two other cavers when he was injured in a rock fall on June 8.

It took a rescue team days to prepare and on June 13, they began the process of carrying Westhauser through a challenging maze of caves.

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When he was extricated, the experienced caver was taken immediately to the hospital. He was described as stable throughout the rescue, but no details of his condition have been given.

"A chapter of Alpine rescue history has been written here over the last 12 days," Bavarian mountain rescue chief Norbert Heiland told The Associated Press. There had been doubts that the German caver could even be rescued from his position four miles away from the cave entrance.

"Since the birth of caving, there have been only two incidents of this depth, complexity and difficulty," Italian rescuer Roberto Conti told the AP.

Rescuers came from numerous countries, including Austria, Switzerland, Italy, and Croatia, to help.

Now that Westhauser is safely out of the cave system, The Guardian said German officials are considering closing it to the public.

"The danger of future missions in the Riesending cave is just too great," Thomas Weber, mayor of Bischofswiesen district, told the paper. "The extreme public accessibility has led us to submit a request for the closure of the cave."

Westhauser is a scientist at the Karlsruhe Technology Institute, the Guardian said, and has worked in the cave system for years as part of a team of research explorers. The cave was found in 1995 and has been described as “an Everest of the deep.”

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A German caver who was trapped for 11 days nearly 3,280 feet underground in the Alps was rescued Thursday and successfully brought to the surface in an operation that required the help of more than 700 people.
german, caver, rescued
334
2014-08-19
Thursday, 19 Jun 2014 03:08 PM
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