A man has spent a night in a cave on Tasmania’s West Coast after falling several metres and injuring himself, with rescuers having to hike for hours in order to raise the alarm.
- Police said the 62yo was an “experienced caver” who fell several metres after slipping on a ladder
- Some of the caving party waited with the injured man, while others hiked for several hours in order to alert authorities
- Rescuers reached the man about 1:00am on Sunday, taking about eight hours to bring him out of the cave
Tasmania Police said a 62-year-old man from Ulverstone, in the state’s north, was caving near Mount Cripps with friends on Saturday when he slipped on a ladder and fell.
Two of the caving party hiked for several hours to an area where there was phone service to raise the alarm.
“A joint search and rescue effort involving Ambulance Tasmania, police, SES personnel and members of the Northern Caverneers Caving Club was launched and, despite difficult terrain and weather, reached the caves in the early hours of this morning,” police said in a statement on Sunday.
At a press conference on Sunday afternoon, Acting Inspector Dave Chapman said while it took about 20 minutes for rescuers to get from the entrance to the cave to the man’s location, it took “almost eight hours to bring him out”, negotiating a “downward section with a waterfall” — with the “patient wet and cold because of that”.
It wasnt a long fall, only a few metres, enough to hurt his back,” Acting Inspector Chapman said, adding the caving party “did all the right things” following the incident.
The man, described by Acting Inspector Chapman as “a very experienced caver”, had mild hypothermia along and a back injury and was taken to the North West Regional Hospital by the Westpac Rescue helicopter.
Acting Inspector Chapman said about 60 people were involved at the “peak” of the rescue operation.
Earlier, police said all rescue equipment had to be walked into the location, which is 1.5 hours’ walk from the nearest road.