BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 November 2005, 19:18 GMT
Teenager dies on school cave trip
Joseph Lister
Joseph was one of the school's star pupils
A 14-year-old boy has died after going missing in a cave on a school trip in the Yorkshire Dales.

Joseph Lister, a pupil at Tadcaster Grammar School, is thought to have been trapped by rising water at Manchester Hole in Upper Nidderdale on Monday.

The boy, whose body was recovered by rescuers, was pronounced dead at hospital in Harrogate later that night.

He was among 100 students on the first day of a week-long visit to the county council-run Bewerley Park Centre.

There is an air around the school that it has lost something very special
Head teacher Geoff Mitchell

The teenager, from Steeton, near Tadcaster, is believed to have gone missing from a party of 10 other pupils, boys and girls and the alarm was raised when he could not be found.

North Yorkshire Police said a post-mortem examination was expected to be carried out later on Tuesday.

Tadcaster Grammar's headteacher Geoff Mitchell said the school had been left "dazed" by the loss of one of its star pupils.

"There is an air around the school that it has lost something very special," he told a news conference.

"He was the sort of lad who had a glint in his eye, who lived life to the full. He had a very, very bright future.

Police officer at Manchester Hole

"He took sport very, very seriously and lived for the game of football."

North Yorkshire County Council's director of education, Cynthia Welbourn, stressed that the Bewerley Park Centre had a very good safety record and was used by a large number of schools in the county.

Investigations have been launched by North Yorkshire Police, the county council and the Health and Safety Executive to establish the chain of events which led to the tragedy.

A council spokesman said the group of 13 and 14-year-olds and nine teachers from the school were divided into smaller groups with instructors from the outdoor centre.

Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue team leader Harry Long said: "I was told that one of the party had gone down this cave and failed to reappear and that floodwater had entered a part of the cave that they had been in.

Pupils return

"It was really a question of locating this unfortunate lad and making certain that we could do all or everything we could for him before bringing him back to the surface.

"One of our members was on site extremely quickly and found that he could gain access, the water levels had dropped by that point, and we carried on from there bringing the youth back to the surface"

Map showing Upper Nidderdale

All the pupils on the trip returned to Tadcaster on Monday evening and have been offered counselling, the county council spokesman said.

The cave the children were in is used by instructors to give a basic introduction to caving.

Manchester Hole adjoins Goyden Pot in the stream bed of the River Nidd one-and-a-half miles north of Lofthouse, near Pateley Bridge.

Although the river level was high after recent heavy rain, the spokesman said: "They would not have gone in if it had not been safe to do so."

Drowned in sea

Joseph Lister is the fifth Yorkshire pupil to die on school trips in the past six years.

In 1999, 13-year-old Gemma Carter from Cockburn High School in Leeds drowned in the sea at Le Touquet in northern France.

Teacher Mark Duckworth was given a six-month suspended sentence for involuntary manslaughter but was later cleared on appeal.

The following year, two pupils from another Leeds school, Royds, were swept to their deaths in a swollen river in the Yorkshire Dales.

Leeds City Council admitted failing to ensure the safety of Hannah Black, 13, and 14-year-old Rochelle Cauvet and was fined 30,000.

Another drowning incident took place in the summer of 2003, this time on a Harrogate Grammar School trip to the Italian Alps when sixth-former Alex Foulkes slipped into a fast-flowing river in the Val d'Aosta area.

One of the rescue team speaks about the incident

School trips in the spotlight
15 Nov 05 |  Education
Pupils 'entitled to school trips'
04 Nov 05 |  Education
Alps river death was 'accidental'
05 Apr 05 |  North Yorkshire
Council fined over river deaths
27 Feb 03 |  England
'Misadventure' verdict on drowned girl
12 May 03 |  West Yorkshire

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific