Injured caver rescued after 4 days underground in Italy

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Injured caver rescued after 4 days underground in Italy

Postby Wayne Harrison » Aug 12, 2007 5:08 pm

Aug. 12

ROME: Rescue workers pulled a cave explorer out alive Sunday from a mountain grotto in northwestern Italy, four days after he broke his ankle and became trapped underground, news reports said.

RAI state television showed Igor Lelevic, 43, of Karlovac, Croatia, being hoisted out of the cave on a stretcher to the cheers of the estimated 200 workers who worked to free him. Wrapped in heat-conducting blankets, he was immediately flown by a waiting helicopter to a nearby hospital.

Lelevic broke his ankle, dislocated his shoulder and gashed his leg Wednesday while exploring the Piaggia Bella cave in Cuneo, in the Maritime Alps near Italy's border with France, the ANSA news agency said.

While he remained trapped because of his injuries, doctors were able to reach him and provided first aid at the scene until rescue crews cleared a path out large enough for the stretcher, ANSA said.

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Postby Tubo Longo » Aug 14, 2007 2:41 am

Some more details. Igor Jelinic (not Lelevic) was attending an annual explo camp in the Marguareis alpine plateau, on the SW Italian - French border. He was exploring a new branch at some 1 km (.63 mi) away and 400 m (1300') of depth from the main entrance of the Piaggia Bella Cave, an alpine system over 40 km (25 mi) long and almost 1000 m (3281') deep, whose main entrance is at about 2200 m (7200') elev.

While climbing in a tight vertical passage Igor lost a foothold and fell reporting several injuries (fractured ankle, dislocated shoulder). The main issues with the rescue were the in-cave temp (in the low 40F) and the numerous tight passages leading to the entrance. For this reason the Italian Cave Rescue called upon several cave rescue teams from all over Northern Italy, as well as some doctors from the Medical Commission and some explosives experts from the Digging Working Group, a total of some 150 cavers. After two days of blasting's into several tight spots, Thu. night the stretcher slowly began moving, to reach the surface on Sun. early afternoon.
External logistic support was also provided by the Civil Protection.

Here're some pics: a view of the plateau not far from the cave; the main entrance of Piaggia Bella Cave and a pic from the rescue.

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