Becka does the squeeze the wrong way round with a broken leg

Wed 16 Aug 1989

... & lots of Austrians.

W, Bec went down to finish off Niflheim but had a slight error at the squeeze. Becka sent me (wooks) down 1st & then proceeded to come through on a C-rig at several thousand miles an hour, nearly getting me on the head but miscalculating slightly and hitting the wall instead thus breaking her leg quite a lot. 'Oh shit' I thought (Becka probably thought something a bit stronger). I parked her on the ledge with her help & we diagnosed a well-broken femur & no other injuries other than scraped knuckles. Her leg was hung on a ladder while I went to get help. Soon found Chris (who went to look after Becka) & then MarkD who leaped into action instantly & dashed off to get pulleys, gear & splints.

Rescue proceeded from here with remarkable efficiency. Animal was despatched downhill & found Joe at camp trying to get brekky & Julian & Tanya on path to cave. He smashed cave to car park record (50 mins) and found Mike Thomas who co-ordinated helicopters & rescue services from Bergrestaurant.

Meanwhile MarkD splinted Becka's leg amidst much blood-curdling screaming & me & Adam rigged pitches with pulleys, jammers & hauling ropes.

With Chris as leg-wallah, really impressive self-help from Becka & mucho prussiking, hauling & man (woman) handling by me, Adam & Mark D we (very) slowly progressed up squeeze pitch, the rift section & the 4th pitch to find that Austrian cave rescue & helicopters (Army & Navy) & doctor had arrived. Mark F, Tanya & Julian pulled her up 3rd pitch where Austrians took over, loaded her into a coffin & took her along boulder ramp & up 2nd pitch by wild traverse line & then (after much faffing with winch) she was pulled up to the surface & choppered to hospital.

_Mark D's version of events_

Coming down 4th pitch: "Hey Mark we've got a problem: Becka's fallen down the squeeze and broken her leg" says Wookey. "Oh shit" thinks Mark too... Rush back out to collect gear: 1st aid kit, loads of crabs, chest harnesses, jammers etc. nicked off people's gear. Also the frame out of my rucksack to use for splints. Got down to Becka to find her on a very small ledge with the ladder wrapped round her leg (for support). Considerable difficulties splinting her leg because ledge so restricted. Pulled her up to the larger ledge just above with much pain & then retied the splint. Then Adam & I pulled her through the squeeze with Chris positioning her from below. Becka was really brave and helped herself a lot. We all cheered when she got through: we knew then that we would get her out. Slow but steady progress up rift, 4th & 3rd pitch, where we met the Austrians.
These rescue techniques really work!

Mark D

(I was last & missed helicopter ride, sob ! Adam)

(Tanya & Julian waited for 2 hrs at entrance to avoid "too many cooks" in the squeeze syndrome until Wookey shouted up for extras. Helped at 3rd pitch haul up and in Austrian operation. Would have been better if more news had been freely dispatched from the rescue front backwards rather than having to be demanded. Some of the screams were quite disconcerting. T/U 8 hrs) & Becka !

Becka's version of events (written much later:-) / Previous Niflheim trip / Next LHR Pushing Trip / Flapjack trip (same day - supplied rescuers)

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    Becka does the squeeze the wrong way round with a broken leg
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