Page last updated at 17:25 GMT, Thursday, 15 May 2008 18:25 UK

Pair died in potholing accident

Alum Pot
Both drowned in the potholing accident in December

Two potholers drowned in North Yorkshire after they became trapped in a cave engulfed by fast-flowing water, an inquest has heard.

Stuart Goodwill, 33, and Caroline Fletcher, 28, from West Yorks, died on 27 December in the Alum Pot caving system near Horton-in-Ribblesdale.

Skipton Coroner's Court heard Mr Goodwill, an experienced potholer, had attempted to save his novice friend.

Their bodies were found tangled up in ropes in the cave.

Coroner Geoff Fell recorded a verdict of accidental death.

It was something he loved
Claire Goodwill

The pair were colleagues in the water treatment industry and Miss Fletcher from Keighley had been keen to go on her first potholing trip.

Mr Fell, said: "It seems likely to me one of them lost their footing and pulled the other one down.

"I can't say who lost their footing.

"Caroline would have been very cold and an experienced caver like Stuart would have been reluctant to leave her while he sought help."

Cave rescuer David Gallivan said the decision to try and leave the cave was a "mistake" and they may have survived if they had sat the flood out.

The inquest was told they had all the correct equipment on the day they died.

Mr Goodwill's widow Claire Goodwill described her husband of three years as "brilliant".

She raised the alarm after he failed to return home after the day's potholing.

She added: "He did everything correctly.

"Caroline was a colleague and she had asked him a few times to take her potholing. It was something he loved."


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