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Rescue from Read's Cavern 26/01/2022


Mendip Cave Rescue were called by Avon and Somerset Police via SARCALL at 21:24 on 26th January 2022, concerning a caver physically stuck in Reads Cavern in Burrington Combe. A party of 7 had entered the cave, and one caver had attempted an awkward squeeze in Zed Alley and found that they were unable to pass a rock constriction, and had become jammed and were unable to move forwards or back out of the squeeze. MCR members attempted to move the casualty, but quickly found that the area around the casualty needed enlarging before he could be moved. Eventually the casualty was freed by using drills and 'plug and feathers' to remove some rock from around his torso which enabled him to be slowly extricated from the squeeze. He was then able to make his way to the surface unaided. The SARCALL incident was closed at 02:57 on the 27th January, with everyone and all the equipment back on the surface, and was attended by 14 MCR members in total.

Sounds a tricky incident. Zed Alley is pretty narrow and I can't imagine it would have been easy work enlarging it around a trapped caver! Good effort all involved and glad the casualty is ok!

Ali M

There is no need to do the original awkward squeeze into Zed Alley. We engineered a bypass (an obvious hole in the floor) by the squeeze when we were working to create a link from the bottom of Zed Alley to near the sump at the bottom of Browne-Stewart Series, therefore avoiding the unstable Browne Stewart Series Boulder ruckle and creating a safer route to Lads' Luck. Guess that the person concerned was trying out the original Zed Alley squeeze for fun. Very glad that they did not get stuck in the squeeze into Lads' Luck.

Ali M

I was probably a bit quick off the mark about the location of the incident and the mention of boulders made me think of the original Zed Alley Squeeze. On the Zed Alley route there is a tight awkward passage below Splash Pot and the Windpipe just before the connection to Browne Stewart Series is not particulary roomy. Hope that the individual concerned suffered nothing more than a few bruises. We certainly gained a few when we were working down there every week.