TWO cavers were rescued by a huge team of volunteers after spending more than 16 hours trapped underground in a notorious cave system near Crickhowell.

The missed explorers - aged 19 and 30 - failed to return from their trip down a "gruelling" cave network.

Both lost men were described as "inexperienced cavers" who took on the challenging underground mission.

Their worried families raised the alarm when they failed to surface on Saturday morning - and were later pulled free by a team of 60 volunteer rescuers.

Brave members of the South and Mid Wales Cave Rescue Team were called in.


They are the same team who rescued caver George Linnane when he spent more than two days trapped in a cave in the Brecon Beacons in November and a junior football team in Thailand in 2018.

In the latest rescue the men had been exploring the Ogof y Daren Cilau caving system in Llangattock, near Crickhowell, Powys when they got into difficulty.

Dyfed Powys Police Chief Inspector Jacqui Lovatt said: "The missing individuals were inexperienced cavers.

"At 8.15am on Saturday, January 8, we received a report of two males, aged 19 and 30, who had been reported missing having left their homes in south Wales the previous afternoon.

"We attended Daren Cilau Caves near Crickhowell. A search commenced involving police and the South & Mid Wales Cave Rescue Team.

"Following an extensive search they were located safe and well, following around a 1km descent by rescue teams. After an initial assessment, thankfully both missing persons were located safe and well, at 3.50pm.

"They had been stuck down the cave for more than 16 hours, having gone caving on the Friday."

Chief Inspector Lovatt added: "The cave system itself is described as one of the biggest in the UK, covering an area of approximately 40km, with a large number of varying routes available within the system."

South & Mid Wales Cave Rescue team said: "We were called out to two cavers long overdue in the Daren Cilau system on the Llangattock Escarpment, a cave infamous for its gruelling entrance crawls.

"Fortunately they were soon located and supported back through the entrance crawl before being rewarmed."

The Ogof y Daren Cilau is said to be a challenging network for cavers and includes a passage called the Time Machine which is believed to be the longest in the UK.

It also features a set of pure whole stalactites known as the White Company and branching helictite known as the Bonsai Tree.

The cave - discovered more than 60 years ago - has a 517 metre entrance crawl making it difficult to get through and unsuitable for casual visitors.