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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

She broke her leg in a deep cave. 60 people saved her in two days

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The operation to rescue a 31-year-old caver who got stuck in a cave in the Italian town of Fontano lasted two days. The rescue operation was difficult not only technically but also mentally. “I’m sorry, I caused trouble,” were the first words she spoke to the rescuers.

Ottavia Piana, 31, has been a member of the Italian Mountaineering Club since 2016, when she completed her first speleology course. – To say she’s careful is an understatement. He always moves very carefully and with care for safety – judges Maurizio Finazzi, president of the branch of the Italian Mountaineering Club for the Lovere region, in an interview with the “Repubblica” newspaper.

On Sunday, she and four friends, also speleologists, reached the Bueno Fonteno Cave. Discovered in 2005, this underground space is huge, largely unexplored, its corridors stretch for about 34 kilometers.

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The cave is located in Fonteno, east of Milan and Bergamo

A friend called for help. He had to come to the surface

During the exploration of the cave, a fragment of the rock broke off, in which the rope securing the 31-year-old woman was attached. She fell from a height of about 1.5 meters so unfortunate that she broke her leg.

It was not possible to call for help from the scene of the accident due to the lack of mobile phone coverage in the cave. One of Ottavia Piana’s friends surfaced and alerted the authorities. The first rescue team from the Lombardy Mountaineering and Speleological Rescue Group (“Soccorso Alpino e Speleologico Lombardia”) arrived at the site. They dropped a phone on the cable to the victim to keep in touch with her all the time and began the arduous descent through the corridors.

1000 meters through chimneys and corridors

One of the first people to reach the 31-year-old was lifeguard Devis Magri. She greeted me jokingly, “I’m sorry, I caused trouble.” This time I messed up completely – he reported in an interview with the journalist “Corriere della Sera”. Magri was in the group of speleologists who discovered the interior of “Bueno Fonteno” and knows the area very well. “I feel a bit at home here,” he says.

After securing the cavers on the stretcher, the rescuers began to slowly move them towards the exit. They had to overcome about 1,000 meters of road leading through chimneys, bottlenecks and winding corridors. The temperature underground was between 6 and 8 degrees and the air humidity – in places almost 100 percent.

The rescue operation was not without problems. She had to be temporarily stopped due to a torrential storm. “We temporarily suspended the action that night due to the water that penetrated the vertical spaces and made the passage impossible,” the rescuers announced on Monday on their social media profile.

“Heavier Mentally Than Physically”

After the rain stopped, the evacuation of the injured speleologist could continue. “The pain caused by the woman’s wound meant that the transport had to be very careful. Overcoming the verticals was paradoxically easier than crossing the horizontal corridors, which were sometimes very tight and uneven, there were moments when the rescuers ‘slid’ the stretcher on the surface of their backs” – we read in the Corriere della Sera.

“It was tougher mentally than physically,” rescuer Federico Gregoretti told the journalist. – It’s not easy to stay focused on such long stretches. In such situations, we remind ourselves that we are helping a person similar to us. We are aware that one day we may be on this stretcher – he reported.

Ottavia Piena was transported by helicopter to the Papa Giovanni XXIII Hospital in Bergamo. Representatives of the local authorities are expressing appreciation and respect for more than 60 people who took part in the rescue operation.

Landscape in the village of Fonteno

Repubblica, Fanpage.it, Corriere della Sera

Main photo source: Soccorso Alpino e Speleologico Lombardy – CNSAS

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