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Monday, 22 July, 2002, 17:05 GMT 18:05 UK
Soldier drowns in cave exercise
Soldier, generic
Soldiers were training in the underground cave complex
A teenage trainee soldier has drowned whilst caving underwater in a cavern complex during a training exercise, the Ministry of Defence has confirmed.

It is thought the unnamed youth was separated from his group on the exercise at Porth-yr-Ogof near Ystradfellte in the Brecon Beacons National Park.

Dyfed-Powys Police said the youngster from the Army Training Foundation College fell into a rockpool at the "Resurgence" limestone area and was later recovered by the West Wales Cave Rescue Group.

He was flown to Morriston Hospital, Swansea, by air ambulance but was pronounced dead on arrival.

An army spokesperson has confirmed the body was recovered from the 2.53km cave, to which fire crews scrambled at 1418 BST.

White horse cave

Porth-yr-Ogof is famed in the caving community for a horse-like rock formation deep inside, formed from calcite.

It has the largest cave entrance in Wales, 20 metres wide and three metres high.

The police and the army have launched a joint investigation and the Health and Safety Executive has been informed.

A police spokesman added: "Following an underwater search the body of a young man was recovered.

"He was a member of the Armed Forces undertaking an exercise in the area.

"No further details are being released until the next of kin have been informed."

A Ministry of Defence spokesperson confirmed the fatality but said no further details were yet available.

Pursuit warning

According to the UK Caves website, Porth-yr-Ogof is "an open access cave with several entrances and a very bad reputation for deaths.

"The cave is very much overused by adventure groups. The main route follows the river which in wet weather flows into the main entrance, the largest entrance in Wales.

"Upstream inlets enter a complex divers-only area and to the right inside the main area, a complex of passages bypasses a deep section in the main route.

"The water exit is the area that has claimed so many lives, being deep and cold with strong undercurrents."


Where I Live, South West Wales
See also:

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31 Dec 98 | UK
03 Aug 01 | Wales
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