The body of a student who died in a cave diving accident has finally been recovered – 39 YEARS after the tragedy.
Paul Esser, a medical student at Bristol University, was only 21 years old when he disappeared in the Porth yr Ogof cave system in Powys, Wales, on February 13th, 1971.
He had been on an expedition with three other trainee divers when he lost his safety line and became stranded in the cave.
It is believed he followed the wrong exit line as he explored the caves and suffocated after running out of air.
His body was located soon afterwards but all attempts to recover his remains from the caves had failed until last week.
Two members of the West Brecon Cave Rescue Team finally brought his body to the surface on April 22nd on the request of his surviving family, who now live in Germany.
They travelled to the cave system as the body was delivered to the surface and now plan to hold a funeral.
A police spokeswoman said: ”It is a tragic story which goes back so far that no serving police officers can remember it.”
The Porth yr Ogof cave system in Ystradfellte, Powys has claimed at least ten lives since 1957, most at a body of water known as the Resurgence Pool used by some to exit the caves.
An inquest into Paul’s death held at the time of the tragedy recorded a verdict of accidental death, but Paul’s cause of death remains ”unascertained”.
In 2002 the pool claimed the life of apprentice army mechanic Kevin Sharman who was only 17 years old.
The tragedy led to a lengthy court battle before the Kevin’s caving instructor was cleared of causing his death.