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Thursday, December 31, 1998 Published at 10:29 GMT


Trapped potholer dies

Rescue teams worked through the night

A 45-year-old underwater potholer who became trapped in subterranean caves in South Wales has died despite a lengthy rescue operation to save him.

The BBC's Damian Grammaticus explains the rescue operation
Volunteer cave rescuers, police divers and fire crews worked in hazardous conditions since Wednesday afternoon to bring the man to the surface at Cefn Coed, near Merthyr Tydfil.

The alarm was raised by the dead man's 47-year-old diving partner.

The operation was complicated because the caves had not been previously mapped and the potholer was trapped in rocks about 50m underground, near the banks of the Afon Taf Fawr.

At one point, explosives were used to widen the tunnels for rescuers.

West Brecon Cave Rescue Team spokesman Gary Evans said: "There is very little room in which to move and conditions are extremely muddy. It has been quite a difficult operation."

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