Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Mountain rescuers carry cave researcher Johann Westhauser , center, out of the Riesending cave near Marktschellenberg, southern Germany, Thursday June 19, 2014. The German cave researcher has been successfully brought to the surface after suffering head injuries in an accident deep underground nearly two weeks ago. Westhauser was injured June 8 while nearly 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) underground in the Riesending cave system in the Alps near the Austrian border. (AP Photo/dpa,Nicolas Armer)
After 2 weeks, injured caver rescued in Germany
First Published Jun 19 2014 10:12 am • Last Updated Jun 19 2014 10:30 am

Berlin • After spending nearly two weeks underground, an injured German caver was hauled out of the country’s deepest cavern Thursday by a multinational rescue operation that involved more than 700 people.

Johann Westhauser, an experienced caver, had gone into the Riesending cave system in the Alps with two companions to carry out research and measurements. He was hit in the head during a June 8 rock fall while nearly 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) underground.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

After lengthy preparations, rescue teams five days later began the arduous task of hauling him up through a labyrinth of narrow passages and precipitous vertical shafts.

Rescuers brought the 52-year-old the final 180 meters (590 feet) to the surface Thursday and immediately sent him to a hospital.

"A chapter of Alpine rescue history has been written here over the last 12 days," Bavarian mountain rescue chief Norbert Heiland said, adding that officials initially doubted whether a rescue was possible.

The rescue became a media event with multi-page spreads in German tabloids.

In all, 728 people from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy and Croatia participated in the operation, operation director Klaus Reindl told reporters in nearby Berchtesgaden.

"Since the birth of caving, there have been only two incidents of this depth, complexity and difficulty," Italian rescuer Roberto Conti said.

A fit expert could climb from the accident site to the entrance in about 12 hours, but rescuers had to haul Westhauser on a stretcher. The cave entrance is on a mountainside, 1,800 meters (5,900 feet) above sea level.

Westhauser’s condition has been described throughout as stable. Officials didn’t elaborate Thursday, but Reindl said he "came through the rescue operation well."


story continues below
story continues below

Bavaria’s top security official said he wants to make sure the highly publicized rescue doesn’t attract "risk tourism." Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann advocated shutting the cave entrance to ensure it was accessed only by experts.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.