Driller Thriller As Rescue Team Saves Trapped Caver

A badly injured woman caver was rescued alive after a 17-hour battle to drill and blast a pathway through rock.

More than 50 rescuers were involved in the operation to save the 60-year-old woman from the Cueva de la Gitana in the Sierra de Maria Natural Park in Spain when she suffered a fall that left her with head injuries.

Local media reported that her injuries meant she had to be carried out on a stretcher but the tunnel system was too narrow.

So experts drilled and blasted a path through to the stricken climber so medical staff could carry her to safety.

She was eventually evacuated to the Torrecardenas Hospital after an overnight session that finished at 5am on Sunday (22nd May).

The route to freedom had apparently been cleared two hours earlier but it took another two hours to weave her through the cave system.

At the time of her rescue, the woman was conscious, despite the severe head trauma and injuries to one of her wrists.

Emergencias 112 AndalucĂ­a said they had received a call for help at 12:00 pm on Saturday (21st May) for a woman who had suffered a fall in the Cueva de la Gitana. The injured woman was one of a group of people who were exploring the tunnels and caves.

In total, more than fifty professionals took part in the rescue including members of the Mountain Civil Guard, firefighters, police officers and other caving experts. There are also two doctors of the Andalusian Health Service.

One doctor travelled to the area by helicopter from Malaga, and was then able to access the cave to stabilise the speleologist before the rescue work began.

Once out of the cave she then needed to be carried down a narrow and dangerous path where the ambulance was waiting to take her to hospital.