On this day in Yorkshire 1988: Five rescued from flooded pot

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Five potholers were rescued today after spending 14 hours trapped underground in a flooded pothole in the Yorkshire Dales.

The group, from the Sheffield area, entered Out Sleets Beck cave system to the north of Settle at the weekend.

They Were named as Sean O’Brien, 25, of Oakland Road; David Pendlebury, 29, of Penrhyn Road; Martin Whittaker, 38, of Meersbrook Avenue; Michelle Riley, 22, of Glebe Road and David Crowther, 37, also of Glebe Road, all from Sheffield.

Three of them were brought out early today. The others were brought out just after l1 am. All five were said to be safe and well.

The alarm was raised when the group failed to surface from a weekend caving expedition at Penyghent Gill, at the end of Littondale.

They were due to emerge from the cave at 7pm yesterday. Friends raised the alarm at 12.35am today.

Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Organisation, North Yorkshire police and firemen were called to the cave entrance to assess the situation after severe overnight flooding in the area.

Firemen pumped water out of the cave system from the early hours of the morning.

Weather in the Dales yesterday was fine, but heavy rain began during the evening, flooding the cave entrance. It continued overnight, but cleared today.

It is thought the last two members of the group to be rescued reached a dry section underground to Wwait while flooding subsided,

The party had been separated underground with three in Cascade Pot and the two others, a man and a woman who were the last to be brought out, in Deluge Pot.

A police spokesman said the leaders of the party were experienced potholers and had followed the correct procedure by notifying someone of the time they expected to resurface,

They also followed correct procedure underground by searching out high ledges and sitting out the flood.

The man leading the rescue, Mr Harry Long, refused to criticise the potholers for going underground.

“We had to divert the water to get the people out. The water level just rose and there was no way they could get through it.”

He described the pothole as “a good sporting pot. There are no severe problems and it is a relatively easy trip through. It is the sort of place for beginners to go” he said.

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