STRAPPED to a stretcher, a little dazzled by the daylight, injured caver Laura Trowbridge was carried to safety by her rescuers after nearly 24 hours trapped in a Gwent cave.

The 22-year-old from Taunton who suffered a fractured pelvis, was carefully brought out of Otter Hole Cave in Chepstow, after an ordeal which saw two rescue teams sent underground to help her.

More rescue crews waited at the mouth of the tidal cave - which extends under Chepstow Racecourse - and she was taken by helicopter to hospital yesterday afternoon.

She and several other members of Wessex Caving Club entered Otter Hole to film the famous cave - renowned as one of the most difficult caving systems in the UK - at around 10am on Tuesday.

But that afternoon she fell and injured her pelvis and it took members of her party about three hours to make it back to the surface to raise the alarm. Firefighters from Maindee in Newport were among the first to respond, and Station Officer Nick Jones handed over the operation to cave rescuers when they arrived. Fire crews then stood by to assist.

Rescue teams raced against the tide to reach the injured woman, then carried her on a stretcher for about seven kilometres to the surface. Andy Harp, part of the second rescue team, finally emerged with Laura just before 4.30pm .He told the Argus: "It couldn't have been such a successful operation without Laura's attitude."