Body of Lancashire diver pulled from flooded cave in Cumbria

A man from Lancashire has died after going missing on a cave diving expedition in Cumbria.

Monday, 6th January 2020, 10:02 am
Updated Monday, 6th January 2020, 12:50 pm

The man's body was pulled from a cave near Kirkby Lonsdale early yesterday morning (January 5) after a ten-hour bid to rescue him.

Police originally said the man had been aged in his 60s, but have now confirmed that he had been in his late 40s.

It is understood the 49-year-old lived in the village of West Bradford near Clitheroe.

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More than 40 members of the Cave Rescue Organisation (CRO) and Cave Diving Group (CDG) were involved in the search. Credit: The Cave Rescue Organisation

Tributes have been made to the man, who has been named locally as Simon Halliday.

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Tributes to Clitheroe man found dead after getting trapped in diving expedition

His body was eventually recovered from a flooded section of a cave known as Lancaster Hole in the early hours of Sunday morning (January 5).

A spokesman for Cumbria Police said: "We can confirm that a body of a diver was pulled from the water at Casterton Fell, in the early hours of yesterday morning (January 5).

The body of a man, aged in his 60s, was pulled from a flooded cave at Casterton Fell, near Kirkby Londsdale, after a ten-hour rescue mission overnight on Saturday/Sunday (January 4/5). Pic: CRO

"Formal ID is yet to be completed and as it’s a non-suspicious death it’s unlikely we will be releasing a name.

"The casualty is believed to be from the Lancashire area and had been visiting Casterton Fell on a cave diving trip.

"The deceased is believed to be in his late 40s, not 60s as originally reported.

"The next of kin of the man has been informed and the death is not believed to be suspicious."

A file is being prepared and will be passed on to the coroner.

A huge rescue operation had been undertaken to rescue the man, with more than 40 volunteers from the Cave Rescue Organisation (CRO) and Cave Rescue Cave Diving Group (CDG) taking part in the search.

The man's body was eventually recovered around 60 metres inside a flooded stretch of the underground caves.

A spokesman from CRO said: "We were called by Cumbria Police at 4.56pm on Saturday (January 4) to reports of an overdue cave diver at Lancaster Hole in Casterton Fell, Cumbria.

"We searched from the point where the cave diver entered the downstream passage (a long, submerged stretch of cave which in wet weather floods), and other entrances and possible exits were also searched by team members and a cave diver, in case the diver had emerged from the system elsewhere.

"The initial search from the access point was led by another member of the Cave Diving Group, who planned to search the first section of the downstream passage.

"Other CDG members were preparing to conduct an extended search if this initial search did not locate the casualty.

"Unfortunately, while conducting his underwater search the rescue diver discovered the missing diver, approximately 60 metres into the sump (a passage in a cave that is submerged underwater).

"The casualty was immediately brought back to the sump pool chamber and removed from the water, where it was apparent that he was deceased.

"All team members were then instrumental in conducting a lengthy and difficult extraction back to the surface of the fell.

"The casualty was then conveyed to Bull Pot Farm and handed over to the care of Cumbria Police."

Both cave diving groups said the man was known to them, but had not been a member of either team.