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Brecon Beacons sheep rescued by Thai cave team members

Brecon Beacons sheep rescued by Thai cave team members

Rescuers Mark Morgan (left to right) Gary Evans, Dave Dunbar, Vince Alkins and Pete Hobson with the stricken sheep
Members of a team which helped rescue 12 boys and their coach from a flooded cave in Thailand have rescued a sheep stuck 25ft underground for three weeks.The mission was launched after hikers reported hearing desperate bleating sounds coming from a hole in the Brecon Beacons on Sunday.A crew from the South and Mid Wales Cave Rescue Team was scrambled, but the weather was too poor.The crew returned on Tuesday and hauled the stricken ram from the hole.The five cavers are colleagues of the team involved in the Thai football team rescue in July.
"While not on the same scale as the incident in Thailand, we're pleased to report another successful rescue operation," said farmer Mark Morgan, an SMWCRT volunteer who helped save the sheep.
The sheep looked "traumatised" and "starving" when the rescuers got to him
He said the group was first alerted in late August that a sheep was trapped underground on Black Mountain, five miles from the nearest road. But a search of the area, which lies on the edge of the Fforest Fawr Geopark, west of Brecon, proved fruitless."We were told it was in what's called a 'shakehole' - an area of collapsed ground that often gives way to caves or passages," said Mr Morgan, 51, from Llanthony, Monmouthshire."The mountain is covered in them and it proved impossible to pinpoint which one the sheep was stuck in."
The Thai football team members were trapped by floodwaters nearly 3km from the entrance to a cave system
A second alert was received by the RSPCA on Sunday along with a photograph of the location, and the team was finally able to find the right shakehole."There was a narrow opening in the ground, covered in overgrowth, but it opened out into a shaft about 25ft deep," he said."One of the guys lowered into the hole on ropes found the sheep at the bottom of the chamber, and three of us pulled it out in a builder's sack."
Rescuers were lowered into a what is known as a 'shakehole', an area of collapsed ground which often gives way to caves or passages
Mr Morgan said the team found the sheep "traumatised and starving"."It was blinking in the daylight as it had obviously been in the dark for three weeks," he said."I fed it some treats - a bit of hawthorn and some sheep nuts - and it staggered off to munch on a patch of grass."God knows how it survived so long - there was nothing to eat down there."
The sheep is thought to have been trapped in the hole for as long as three weeks
The area's extensive caves, including the Dan Yr Ogof complex, are formed by rainwater dissolving the limestone rock.
RSPCA
Thailand cave rescue
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