Man who died after falling 20ft in cave and getting trapped for 17 hours named

Man who died after falling 20ft in cave and getting trapped for 17 hours named


A 74-year-old man who died after falling 20ft inside a cave and breaking his leg has been named by his grieving daughter.

Experienced caver Harry Hesketh was exploring a remote part of the Yorkshire Dales on Saturday afternoon when he fell.

A group of nearly 100 people were involved in a 17-hour attempt to rescue the caver from the spot at Curtain Pot on Fountains, Fell.

Today his heartbroken daughter Wendy Uchimura confirmed her dad, a retired computer programmer from near Skipton, North Yorkshire, had died.

The 43-year-old translator, who lives in Japan, also paid tribute to the "incredible" 90-strong rescue team who spent 17 hours trying to save Mr Hesketh's life.

She said: "My dad was extremely active and, with his nearly 60 years of experience, loved nothing more than getting out on the fells and exploring caves and potholes.

"My deepest thanks go to everyone who came out to try and help him – the cave rescue organisations, the rescue teams, air ambulance, and individuals.

"Their incredible efforts are greatly appreciated."

Mr Hesketh, known in the caving community as 'Eski', was exploring with two others when the accident happened on Saturday.

It is believed he suffered a broken femur in the fall.

His companions ran to get help and emergency rescue teams scrambled to the scene, at Curtain Pot.

Desperate workers struggled because of the narrowness of the passages and the fact it was an unknown cave, meaning it hadn't been mapped.

The Cave Rescue Organisation (CRO) said that as well as their own members, there were six other rescue teams and experts called upon.

CRO officials identified that a successful rescue would "require major engineering work simultaneously at many places along the length of the cave, as well as fully rigging for rescue".

As work got underway a doctor cared for the casualty and prepared for him to be brought out of the cave but Mr Hesketh died before being brought to the surface.

A CRO spokesman said: "Unfortunately, due to the nature of his injuries, and the extended time needed to create a navigable way out, the casualty succumbed to his injuries and died just prior to the extrication beginning.

"As an exploration site, the cave was not mapped, nor were the passages of sufficient width to allow extrication of an immobile casualty."

In total, the incident actively involved 94 volunteers for over 17 and a half hours – a total of 1,626 man hours.

This included nearly 70 personnel on site below and above ground as well as volunteers providing food and drink, coordinating resources, both human and equipment, and communications.

As well the the CRO, mountain rescue teams from across Yorkshire and Cumbria and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency were involved in the operation.

Posting on Facebook , a CRO spokesman said: "Our sincere and heartfelt condolences go to his family and friends.

"Our thoughts and deepest thanks are also with everyone who were involved."

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