Three students found dead after being trapped in flooded cave in Indonesia

Rescue workers retrieve the bodies of three students who were found dead in a cave in Bandung, Indonesia, Monday (December 23).

The university students had been exploring the Lele cave in West Java when they were trapped by floodwaters from an unexpected rainstorm on Sunday (December 22).

A search and rescue operation launched after they became trapped and five people were rescued alive.

Rescue spokesman, Seni Wulandari, said the victims were trapped in the cave "for quite a while" before they could be evacuated.

Officials said it took the rescue team around an hour to reach the victims in the cave, which was 30 meters underground.

The students, who were part of their university's nature club, entered the cave when conditions were favorable. But one of the groups involved with the rescue said there was a sudden and unexpected downpour.

Flood water then rushed into the cave, "lake a waterfall," trapping anyone inside.

The head of the search and rescue team, Deden Ridwanshah, said they were able to retrieve five students alive from the cave, but unfortunately, three of them did not survive due to the lack of oxygen.

The team recovered the dead bodies on Monday morning.

Several regions in Indonesia have been flooded since the start of the rainy season in late November.