Cliff climber trapped inside Dorset sea cave dies despite rescue effort
A cliff climber has died after strong waves trapped her inside a sea cave in Swanage, Dorset.
Lifeboat and helicopter teams fought for two hours to save her, but were beaten back by terrible weather conditions, and it is believed she drowned.
The woman was coasteering - an extreme sport involving climbing cliffs and jumping into the sea - while on holiday with her brother, who was winched to safety by a Coastguard helicopter crew, reports the Mirror.
The pair, from London, had jumped into the sea at a beauty spot known as Tilly Whim caves, at Anvil Point, near Swanage in Dorset.
The woman was dragged into the cave by fierce waves. A member of public raised the alarm when he spotted her brother struggling in the water at 2.55pm on Sunday.
The Daily Telegraph reports that rescuers had been in contact with the woman through a 15ft-deep blowhole leading to into the cave while trying to access it through an opening at the front of the cliffs as 10ft waves crashed against the rocks.
According to the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph, one rescuer even managed to squeeze through the 1.5ft-wide hole into the cave, but found the woman dead, and could not retrieve her body due to the severe weather.
A statement from the RNLI said: "An urgent call from Portland Coastguard prompted a multi-agency rescue attempt after people walking at Tilly Whim caves reported seeing a person in the water on Sunday 3 November.
"Swanage's all-weather lifeboat launched into a rough sea and gale-force winds, and proceeded to Anvil Point. Swanage RNLI's inshore lifeboat followed at the limit of its operational capability, but returned to station after about 60 minutess due to the worsening conditions on scene.
"Rescue Helicopter 106 recovered a casualty from the water, who informed the crew that a further person was trapped in a cave nearby. Both Swanage and St Albans Coastguard Rescue teams were mobilised to join the winchman, who by now had been dropped onto the nearest ledges and was trying to communicate with the casualty through a narrow fissure connected to the cave.
"As the tide rose, many further attempts to reach the casualty were made but the rough conditions, with the tide rising and seas breaking over the heads of the rescuers at times, proved impossible to overcome.
"Due to deteriorating conditions, the decision to stand down the rescue efforts was made, and at 5.05pm the lifeboat was released to return to station."
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