Page last updated at 13:39 GMT, Wednesday, 28 April 2010 14:39 UK

Caver diver's body found after 39 years in Ystradfellte

Porth yr Ogof is regarded as one of the most dangerous caves in Britain

The body of a student cave diver, which has lain in one of the UK's most dangerous cave systems since his death 39 years ago, has been recovered.

Paul Esser, a medical student at Bristol University, was just 21 when he disappeared in the Porth yr Ogof cave system at Ystradfellte, Powys in 1971.

His remains were finally recovered a week ago by two members of the West Brecon Cave Rescue Team.

Powys coroner Peter Maddox recorded a verdict of accidental death.

According to reports following Mr Esser's death in February 1971, it was understood that he had followed the wrong line as he made for an exit, and ran out of air.

A spokeswoman for Dyfed Powys Police said: "Although he was located at that time in the caves, his body was never able to be recovered despite several attempts over the following weeks and as a result he has remained in the location he died."

Family members, who were living in Surrey at the time of his death, were at the scene as his remains were finally brought to the surface on Thursday, and released to hold a funeral.

Recording the accidental death verdict, the Powys coroner said the cause of death remains "unascertained".


The Porth yr Ogof cave system has claimed at least 10 lives since 1957, most at a pool of water known as the Resurgence Pool used by some to exit the caves.

In 2002, the pool claimed the life of apprentice army mechanic Kevin Sharman, who was just 17-years-old.

The tragedy led to a lengthy court trial before the trainee's instructor was cleared of causing the recruit's death.

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FROM OTHER NEWS SITES Caver's Body 'Brought- up' After 39 Years - 11 hrs ago
Mail Online UK Body of student who died during caving accident is finally recovered nearly 40 years after his death - 25 hrs ago
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