Two people have been rescued from a cave on a snowy mountainside east of Prince George, B.C., after more than 60 search and rescue personnel worked through the night to save them.
The man and woman, both in their 20s, were injured when one of them fell on the other while they were on a recreation climbing trip inside Fang Cave, in Evanoff Provincial Park on Thursday.
With the help of a third person in their group, the injured pair of experienced cavers were able to climb back to within 10 metres of the entrance. The third cave explorer then climbed out and called in the rescuers with a satellite phone late Thursday afternoon.
To reach the injured pair, the 60 volunteer rescuers had to climb 2.5 kilometres up the mountainside through shin-deep snow and then pick their way through an icy and treacherous boulder field to reach the opening and descend into the cave.
They arrived at the cave around midnight and were able to pull the pair out and transfer them to a local hospital by 5 a.m. with non-life-threatening head and leg injuries, according to Prince George Search and Rescue spokesman Jeff Smedley.
"They were doing pretty good, nothing too serious. They never lost consciousness. They were helped off the mountain, and by 5 a.m. the [ambulance service] took them to the hospital," said Smedley.
Fang Cave is the ninth longest cave in Canada and is considered a spectacular location for spelunking and climbing, although B.C. Parks lists the region as "hazardous and dangerous."
In October 2009, another cave explorer had to be rescued from Fang Cave after a large rock fell on him.
A previous version of this story incorrectly said the rescuers had to hike through chin-deep snow. The snow was actually shin deep.Nov 12, 2010 7:30 AM PT