A Bristol man who was trapped in a cave for two days with a broken leg, jaw and ribs has recovered to tell the tale of th 54-hour ordeal, admitting that he wasn’t sure if he would make it out alive.
George Linnane underwent the terrifying near-death experience after slipping on a ledge and falling during an expedition at Ogof Ffynnon Ddu, in the Brecon Beacons, on November 6 last year.
The incident sparked one of the longest cave rescues in UK history, with 300 volunteers deployed in a bid to save the 38-year-old.
George sat down with Good Morning Britain to reveal what happened that day, and how he’s coping almost three months on.
George, from Bradley Stoke, spoke to Susanna Reid and Ed Balls alongside fellow caver Melissa Bell who witnessed the fall and was trapped in the cave with him.
He told them: “Before the help started arriving, I wasn’t sure I was gonna make it. Once the help started arriving, I always felt like I had a chance.”
George also claims that he cannot remember the first 16-18 hours he was trapped, and believes that stage of the ordeal is wiped from his memory due to hypothermia and shock.
As well as extensive injuries to his leg, jaw and ribs, he also suffered a dislocated clavicle, lacerated spleen, collapsed lung and a broken scaphoid in his wrist.
His friend and fellow caver Melissa, who also appeared on GMB, said it was her job from the start to keep him awake.
She said: “I think I felt that keeping him engaged talking to me because otherwise, I didn’t know what was going to happen to him.
“I couldn’t see him. I wasn’t down there with him. So all I could go on was what he was talking to me about, what he was saying.”
George said: “I think it was a particularly good call because of my jaw injuries.
“I didn’t want to choke on blood or anything horrible like that. Keeping me with it enough to know what was happening was probably quite vital.”
George added that what happened, along with the aftermath, has had a psychological impact on him.
He said: “I imagine it’ll always be with me in some way.
“I did have one night in hospital where I didn’t get a wink of sleep, because I kept on sort of remembering it in my head, and essentially, I thought I had PTSD at that point. But it only lasted one night, and then it went away.
“I’m not silly enough to think it’s gone away, but it’s not currently happening.
“And I think one of the reasons it’s not happening at the moment is because I’ve talked about it a lot and I’ve kind of been through it. That’s helped my brain to process it.
“So, it’s not currently weighing on my mind that I’m not bottling stuff up, but will stuff come up later when I go back to caving? Possibly. I’ll deal with that when it comes.”
Caving is widely-considered a dangerous hobby, and when asked why exactly he does it, due to the obvious risks involved, George replied: “It’s one of the difficult questions that we all get asked as cavers, and I’m not sure that we ever really learn how to answer it.
“There’s an element of; if you ask the question, you probably won’t understand it.
“It’s by no means an adrenaline sport. Anyone who treats it as one probably isn’t going to last very long.
“When people think of caving, they tend to think of claustrophobia, the small stuff, the miserable stuff, the difficult stuff. But you do it for a reason.
“You do it to get to the good stuff, which is the pretty things that you wouldn’t see on the surface, and the massive, amazing passages - it’s another planet down there, at the end of the day.
“It’s the same reason people scuba dive or the same reason people would want to go to the moon.”