Cave rescue man back at work

A SUFFOLK man was back at work today after suffering a traumatic ordeal when he was left dangling from a rock ledge in a New Zealand cave.Tom Harvey, 22, clung to two small crevices for seven hours while his fraying rope held him above a 50-metre chasm inside the country's deepest vertical shaft.

A SUFFOLK man was back at work today after suffering a traumatic ordeal when he was left dangling from a rock ledge in a New Zealand cave.

Tom Harvey, 22, clung to two small crevices for seven hours while his fraying rope held him above a 50-metre chasm inside the country's deepest vertical shaft.

Mr Harvey, who is in New Zealand on a two-year working holiday, was one of three people rescued from the notorious Harwood's Hole near Nelson on country's South Island.

Despite his terrifying experience, he is now back working at the Golden Fries fish and chip shop near Nelson.


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The 22-year-old said: “It was the single most terrifying moment of my life.

“It was kind of weird. I was abseiling and it was all really cool, spectacular caves, everything was going smoothly and I looked down and I just saw threads not rope - the sheath had totally gone from the rope.

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“I looked up and there was three metres of sheathless rope.”

His American friend, 27-year-old Tina Bark, was about 30m above him, and her partner Leon Davis, was about to abseil himself into the hole when the group realised there was trouble so he ran for help.

More than 50 search and rescue volunteers left their workplaces and came to assist the group, who had begun the abseil at noon local time (11pm GMT) on Wednesday.

Mr Harvey was rescued about 7.40pm local time, followed by Miss Bark at 9pm.

Welshman Ben Jones, 22, who had been at the bottom of the hole was rescued at 12.30am the following day by being walked out through a lower caving system.

The group emerged from a tent after a debrief with emergency services, where they expressed their thanks to all the volunteers who had come to their rescue.

As a result of the incident, police in New Zealand will ask travel guides and websites promoting Harwood's Hole to upgrade their safety message about the massive sinkhole.

Have you ever experienced a dramatic rescue before? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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