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Spanish caver trapped underground for 11 days

Alex Dunham · 29 Sep 2014, 13:35

Published: 29 Sep 2014 13:35 GMT+02:00

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Cecilio López-Tercero was making his way down Intimachay cave in the remote Peruvian Amazon when he fell five metres, fracturing his legs and breaking several vertebrae.

He’s lain there ever since, almost completely dependent on those working hard to rescue him.

These include Peruvian potholers, soldiers and firemen, who despite their limited resources and the difficult layout of the caves, have been able to get food, water and medical help to López.

“Cecilio is lying face up. He can move laterally but he cannot stand up," the US edition of the Huffington Post reported rescue coordinator James Apaestegui as saying on Saturday.

After the Spanish government claimed it could not afford to help out, a team of 47 Spanish cavers quickly set up an international rescue mission to help their colleague.

They made their way to the remote ravine in Leimebamba district, 605 kilometers (376 miles) northeast of the capital Lima, while also putting together a crowdfunding campaign to finance the rescue mission through online donations.

“The response has been fabulous, we've received €50,000 ($63,000) so far,” Angel San Juan, president of Madrid’s Speleology Foundation, told Spanish sports’ daily AS.

Although the rescue team were predicting López would soon be out after managing to move him 500 metres on Saturday, heavy rainfall may now delay the complicated procedures.

He’s on a stretcher 300 metres down, always in the company of a rescuer during their 18-hour 'work days'.

Story continues below…

“Cecilio is always cheering us on and the morphine is helping him to not feel any pain,” San Juan added.

Marisa López, Cecilio’s sister, has joined the team of rescuers in praising Peruvian authorities for the help they've provided but criticized the Spanish Government’s apparent passiveness towards the ongoing rescue.

“We need more government funds to get the relevant people over there,” she told Spanish radio Cadena SER. 

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Alex Dunham (alex.dunham@thelocal.com)

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