Rescue mission ends, search for caver’s body continues

Rescuers are sure both cavers are dead after finding the body of one of them. Once they find the second body, the team will focus on getting the bodies out of the cave.

Missing caver found dead

One of the missing bodies was found in a cave in the Tatra Mountains.

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The rescuers from Tatra Volunteer Search and Rescue (TOPR) who have been looking for the two missing cavers since last Saturday have announced that the rescue mission is over, and that rescuers will now focus on finding the body of the second spelunker and on taking both bodies out of the cave. The rescue services are certain that the second caver is dead.

The temperature inside the cave remains at around four degrees Celsius (39.2 Fahrenheit) and considering the high level of humidity, it was not possible for the other caver to survive. The spelunkers entered the cave on Thursday, August 15th, and have been underground for over 150 hours, too long to have any chance of survival.

To reach one of the bodies, the rescuers had to squeeze through tight corridors of the cave, going centimetre by centimetre at certain points. The team has used pyrotechnics to get through certain spots, especially after a rock collapsed cutting off their path on Thursday. The rescuers who are currently in the cave entered it on Thursday morning.

Because of the rescue operation, Great Snowy Cave (Jaskinia Wielka Śnieżna) is currently closed for tourists, however, some have tried to enter the cave. Disobedient tourists have been given high fines to deter others from attempting to break the ban.

Six cavers descended into Great Snowy Cave, the largest cave system in the Tatra Mountains, on Thursday. Later, two of them became separated from the group. Their colleagues last had contact with them early on Saturday morning. The remaining four ascended to the surface and called for help. The rescue operation began late on Saturday afternoon.

Some 26 rescuers were involved in the operation, coming from TOPR, Slovakian mountain search and rescue, the State Fire Service and miner rescuers from Bytom.