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Two people drown in caving tragedy

What Happened
Person overboard/swept away/fell in the water
What Caused
Adverse environmental conditions
Casualty type/Qty
Causal Factors
Lack of awareness of hazards/obstacles
Injury Details
Accident suspected

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Description of Incident
A DARLINGTON man and a female companion drowned in a flooded underground cave system when an expedition went tragically wrong.

The alarm was raised when the 33-year-old man's wife raised the alarm because he did not return.

His body and that of his 28-year-old female companion were discovered by a cave rescue team after a three hour search.

The tragedy happened in 350ft deep Alum Pot, part of a treacherous cave system in the Yorkshire Dales near the village of Selside.

Inspector Mike Thompson of North Yorks police said: "We responded along with the Cave Rescue Organisation to a report a husband had not returned home.

"At 3.22am two bodies were found at a spot known as Lower Long Churn."

The man and woman had drowned and police say there are no suspicious circumstances.

A major search involving North Yorkshire Police and the Upper Wharfedale Cave Rescue Organisation was sparked at 12.20am when a woman from Darlington, County Durham, called the police saying her husband had failed to return home.

She gave police clear instructions to where where she thought her husband may have gone that day and searchers located the two bodies relatively quickly at 3.20am.

Streams run through the Alum Pot system and it is not advised people go down following periods of heavy rain.

It was first discovered by John Birkbeck, of Settle, North Yorks, in 1848 and continues for 1,200 feet under the moors.
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Location of Incident

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