Extensive rescue operation under way in New Zealand cave

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Extensive rescue operation under way in New Zealand cave

Postby Wayne Harrison » Aug 26, 2007 7:52 am

Tricky rescue bid for caver
Aug 26, 2007 6:52 PM

Caving experts are in the middle of one of the most difficult rescues ever carried out in New Zealand.

More than 50 people have been brought in to help rescue a man wedged more than three kilometres underground.

Motueka GP, Doctor Michael Brewer, 47, got stuck in the Green Link Middle Earth cave system near Takaka on Saturday afternoon after injuring himself in a rock fall.

It could take until Tuesday to get him to safety.

<a href="http://tvnz.co.nz/view/page/410965/1322448">via tvnz.co.nz</a>

Injured caver talks to family from Nelson cavesSunday, 26 August 2007

Injured caver Michael Brewer has spoken to his wife and daughters, 24 hours after he was struck by falling rocks in and underground caving network near Nelson.

Dr Brewer, a local GP, was one of four cavers exploring and surveying the Green Link/Middle Earth cave system on the Takaka Hill, near Nelson.

He was hit by falling rocks about 5pm yesterday. Two cavers went and raised the alarm while another remained with 47-year-old Dr Brewer, an experienced caver.

A rescue party of five people, including a doctor, went into the cave about 5am today, rescue co-ordinator Hugh Flower said.

Dr Brewer is about 3km into the caving system, which usually takes about five hours to travel, Mr Flower said.

"We got the communications system into where he is at about 5:30 this evening.

<a href="http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/4178727a10.html">via Stuff.co.nz</a>

<a href="http://news.google.com/news?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4DMUS_enUS208US208&ncl=1119940032&hl=en">Other news reports via Google News</a>
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Injured caver two thirds of the way home

Postby Wayne Harrison » Aug 27, 2007 7:45 am

Injured New Zealand caver Michael Brewer has been moved about two thirds of the way out of the Nelson caving network he has been trapped in for 48 hours.

<b><a href="http://www.stuff.co.nz/videoplayer/109799a15455.html">View video</a>
<a href="http://www.stuff.co.nz/4179723a19754.html">View a map of the rescue progress</a></b>

About 50 cavers from around the country have managed to manoever get the Motueka doctor through the Middle Earth caving system.

Rescuers hope he will reach the surface later tonight or early tomorrow morning.

<a href="http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/4179672a10.html">via stuff.co.nz</a>
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Injured caver could be out shortly

Postby Wayne Harrison » Aug 27, 2007 7:52 am

Injured caver could be out shortly
27/08/2007 22:40:12

Rescuers in a cave system near Takaka are making faster than expected progress, and injured caver Michael Brewer could be out around midnight.

The Motueka GP has been in the cave system since Saturday afternoon, when he was hit by falling rocks three kilometres into the tunnels.

Despite suffering from a head injury and a suspected broken pelvis, rescue coordinator Hugh Flower says Dr Brewer is in good spirits, and is helping with caving expertise and advice.

<a href="http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/newsdetail1.asp?storyID=123271">via NewsTalkZB.co.nz</a>
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Postby JoeyS » Aug 27, 2007 7:59 am

Rescuers in a cave system near Takaka are making faster than expected progress, and injured caver Michael Brewer could be out around midnight.


That's very good news. Glad his rescue is progressing well.
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New Zealand Kiwi is out and in the hospital

Postby Ernie Coffman » Aug 27, 2007 12:54 pm

Don't know where my other link and reply went to, but here's the correct link for the doctor is out of the cave and in the hospital:

Here's the link: http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/latest/20 ... rought_out

:banana:
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Postby NZcaver » Aug 27, 2007 2:36 pm

:wtg: From TV3 in New Zealand:

Injured caver back above ground
Tue, 28 Aug 2007 05:21a.m. (Mon, Aug 27 @ 1:21pm Eastern/10:21am Pacific)

After a lengthy rescue injured caver Michael Brewer was pulled from a Takaka caving system about 1:00am this morning.

Dr Brewer's wife Sarah and her two teenage daughters were there to see him when he came out.

The first thing he said to his wife after resurfacing was ‘sorry’.

Dr Brewer was one of four cavers exploring and surveying the Green Link / Middle Earth cave system on Takaka Hill near Nelson when he was hit by falling rocks at about 5:00pm on Saturday.

Dr Brewer suffered suspected cracked ribs, concussion, and a broken pelvis.

The incident happened about 3km into the caving system - a distance which usually takes about five hours to travel.

Rescue teams involving around 50 cavers from throughout New Zealand worked around the clock to bring Dr Brewer through the complex cave system.

He was quickly moved to a waiting helicopter and taken to Nelson Hospital.

Constable Bill Talbot says it was the biggest rescue operation the area has seen.


Some earlier video links relating to the rescue:

Making progress

Rescuer interview

Wife interview
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Postby NZcaver » Aug 28, 2007 12:26 am

Another great video clip just released by TVNZ:

Rescued caver can't remember accident - a 4 minute clip including some in cave footage of Dr Brewer in a Ferno litter.

Sounds like it was a pretty slick operation, from all accounts... :woohoo:
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Postby Scott McCrea » Aug 28, 2007 11:12 am

The CNN video includes much of the same footage as the other links, but may offer a better chance for us to speculate on his gear. Especially, his lights. Is that a Sten? And what are the two round lights underneath?
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Postby NZcaver » Aug 28, 2007 6:23 pm

Scott McCrea wrote:The CNN video includes much of the same footage as the other links, but may offer a better chance for us to speculate on his gear. Especially, his lights. Is that a Sten? And what are the two round lights underneath?

Yeah, I noticed that Stenlight as well. The 2 below look like a pair of small reflector housings for halogen or LED lamps - maybe something home-made or modified perhaps? I'm guessing he didn't run out of light in those 3 days!
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Rescue effort the chance to pay back a debt

Postby Wayne Harrison » Aug 29, 2007 7:54 am

Helen Murdoch
<img src="http://www.stuff.co.nz/images/320429.jpg">
Good Teamwork: members of team No. 7 John
Parker, left, Travis Cross and Kieran McKay
who helped carry Michael Brewer from Middle
Earth.


The Press | Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Kieran McKay has repaid his debt to fellow caver Michael Brewer.


Eight years ago, Brewer used his medical and caving skills to rescue McKay, who was injured in an expedition into the Bulmer caving system on Mount Owen.

This week it was McKay who helped rescue Brewer, who was hurt by falling rocks in the Middle Earth cave system on Takaka Hill.

McKay, who went in on Sunday night, said yesterday: "The first thing I said to him was, `We're even now'. He laughed.

"It was a real release getting down there realising something was wrong – he could not walk – but the fact was he was in good spirits, and he was a really experienced caver.

"That gives you a lot of confidence that we were going to get him out no matter what. I know exactly what that feels like."

In 1999, it took four days to rescue McKay in an operation involving 78 people after he fell 10m when abseiling down a shaft, 8km into the Bulmer cave system.

<a href="http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/thepress/4181964a19754.html">via The Press NZ</a>
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Postby pete_the_caver » Aug 29, 2007 8:24 am

The lights Mike is using are probably home made if unrecognizable. We kiwi cavers have been forced to manufacture our kit over the years due to lack of availability of manufactured equipment. At a guess they probably contain some sort of Luxeon LED.

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Cave rescue TV coverage

Postby Wayne Harrison » Aug 29, 2007 8:46 am

Mike Brewer Cave Rescue - TV1
<embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/g_QAFgV7I70" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="350"></embed>

Mike Brewer Cave Rescue - TV3
<embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/r5pNze558K4" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="350"></embed>
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Postby JoeyS » Aug 29, 2007 9:29 am

It's interesting that they made reference to the cost of his rescue. Does he get a bill for it?
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Postby wendy » Aug 29, 2007 9:36 am

I have to say that is probably the best news coverage of any type of caving incident I have ever seen.
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Postby NZcaver » Aug 29, 2007 11:46 am

JoeyS wrote:It's interesting that they made reference to the cost of his rescue. Does he get a bill for it?

I highly doubt it. Things don't generally work that way in New Zealand. As I recall, the NZ police have overall responsibility for all land SAR operations (including cave rescue), so they probably budget that $100k via the taxpayer. Of course volunteers play a big part too, as do other agencies like the army (in this case providing trucks for transport).

It's a public health care system there, by the way.

I must say that what little I know of this rescue from media reports and speaking with friends, it seemed to be very well conducted. And the news coverage was great too - they even got footage underground!
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