Three people trapped in notorious Welsh 'magic underground world'

walkers on mountain path at sunrise
Volunteers completed the rescue just after sunrise -Credit:NWCRO

A simple error left three explorers trapped overnight in Eryri's 'magic underground world'. Mine explorers are being urged to be better prepared when visiting old quarries in Eyri (Snowdonia) after three individuals found themselves stuck overnight in a notorious slate mine due to a basic mistake that could have had severe consequences.

Rescue team members confessed they were already "very tired" when they received a midnight call to the Croesor-Rhosydd mine complex between Croesor and Tanygrisiau near Blaenau Ffestiniog. A through-route from one end to the other is considered a classic trip for mine explorers wanting to experience a "real magic underground world".

Zip wires, fixed ropes, suspension bridges and inflatable boats make the journey an adventure. However, some equipment is old or missing, and the mines continue to trap the unwary, making them a frequent destination for the North Wales Cave Rescue Organisation (NWCRO). For the latest Welsh news delivered to your inbox sign up to our newsletter

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On Monday, May 6, North Wales Police alerted NWCRO and Aberglaslyn Mountain Rescue Team about three missing people in Croesor-Rhosydd. Coincidentally, NWCRO members had spent the entire day at the mine on a training exercise, reports North Wales Live.

One of the missing trio was discovered at the bottom of the first pitch in Croesor. Unable to find their way out of Rhosydd, he'd retraced his steps to the entrance to raise the alarm. A spokesperson for the North Wales Cave Rescue Organisation (NWCRO) recounted the harrowing incident: "Unfortunately, on reaching the last pitch up, he discovered that the rope they had descended was no longer there. The other rope present had been pulled part way up the pitch and was unreachable."

They continued, detailing the rescue operation: "A message was relayed to the surface and a second NWCRO team entered Rhosydd. They quickly located the other two members of the party and escorted them to the surface, just as the sun was rising." Join our WhatsApp news community here for the latest breaking news

The spokesperson also highlighted the mistake made by the cavers, saying further checks revealed that, rather than using their own rope, the trio had used a rope installed by another group making the through-trip the same day." Unfortunately, after completing their trip, the other group inadvertently removed the in-situ rope while retrieving their own, which was already in poor condition.

The NWCRO representative issued a stern warning to future visitors, advising: "If you are contemplating this trip please do not rely on any equipment that you may find and take your own. It's also a really good idea to recce the route from the Rhosydd side to ensure that you know the way out."

Additionally, the Aberglaslyn Mountain Rescue Team was called into action to provide medical support, arriving at the mine at 1.03am. Their involvement concluded around 6.30am after they helped the stranded cavers to the surface and back to their vehicles.

Seasoned cavers come prepared with their own ropes and even inflatable boats for crossing the 50-metre subterranean lake at Croesor-Rhosydd. Many have been caught out, however.