A 49-year-old tragically died while at a children’s party after getting stuck inside a narrow tunnel at an indoor caving experience.
Carl O’Keeffe was visiting the Kong Adventure Center in Keswick on April 22 when the devastating incident occurred.
The center in the Lake District of England features an indoor 70m-long caving network for visitors to venture.
But after going inside a narrow tunnel with four children, the father slipped and got stuck, prompting a four-hour rescue operation.
Staff first tried to help the father out but when they failed, crews from Cumbria Fire and Rescue, Keswick Mountain Rescue, Great North Air Ambulance, Northwest Ambulance Service’s Hazardous Area Response Team and police rushed to the scene.
Parts of the climbing wall were removed for easier access for rescue teams.
“While the emergency services were deciding on evacuation plans, the climbing wall staff, assisted by visiting climbers, started dismantling sections of the wall to aid access to tunnels hidden behind the climbing wall panels,” a spokesperson said, BBC News reported.
O’Keeffe was rushed to the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle but he died on April 30.
His heartbroken sister, Olivia Short, took to Facebook and wrote: “He was my baby brother and over the last few years became my best friend.
“I also got to spend alternate weekends with him and his children. I’m broken hearted, as are the rest of our family.”
The Kong Adventure center released a statement and said that staff ‘followed all emergency procedures’ after the father got stuck before ‘it became apparent that outside assistance was needed.’
The Keswick Mountain Rescue Team also said that the operation to free O’Keeffe involved a ‘significant effort’ by rescue teams.
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