Trapped in UK Sea Cave, Swimmer Dies

Rescuers fail to reach her through tiny 'blowhole'

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 4, 2013 8:36 AM CST

(Newser) – A woman was swimming off the south coast of England when she got trapped in a sea cave; amid "horrendous" weather conditions, the 30-year-old died before rescuers could reach her, the BBC reports. She and her brother, 31, had apparently been "coasteering"—climbing on rocks, then jumping into the water, the Telegraph reports. A bystander saw the brother struggling in the water, prompting rescuers' arrival; the brother, who was rescued via coast guard helicopter, told the team his sister was trapped.

"The rescue was considered to be at the very edge of our technical capability," said a coast guard rep. There were two ways into the cave: "underwater, or though a narrow blow hole at the top." Rescuers apparently managed to talk to the woman for two hours: "She seemed to be out of the water, but there was no way we could reach her," said a team member. High tide on its way, an officer finally entered the blow hole. "The water was charging in through the cave, practically filling it up, and then shooting up the hole, pushing the officer back up," said a spokeswoman. That's when rescuers realized the woman had died; recovering her body until the weather abated was determined to be "too dangerous."

The Tilly Whim Caves, where the woman was trapped.
The Tilly Whim Caves, where the woman was trapped.   (WikiMedia Commons/Huligan0)
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