PUEBLA, Mexico – Mexican rescuers pulled an injured French cave explorer to safety early Saturday, working in apassageway so narrow they sometimes had to remove him from a stretcher and carry the man in their hands.
Capping a grueling four-day rescue effort, emergency workers pulled Arthur Meauxone, 21, dirty but conscious, from the Cuaxuspan cave in central Puebla state, where he had been trapped since Wednesday.
Meauxone apparently suffered a fall and a broken bone in the mishap, but there were no immediate details on the extent of his injuries, which did not appear life-threatening; rescuers wrapped him in a thermal blanket, gave him initial treatment in a tent near the mouth of the cave, and carried him to a waiting ambulance.
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The injured spelunker appeared alert and upbeat as he was carried away. Five other members of the expedition managed to leave the cave shortly after the accident.
His father, Guy Meauxone, said the mishap wouldn't deter the cavers from returning.
"We're going to come back next year and finish this," the elder Meauxone told reporters at the scene, "because this is like the car races; you have an accident, you come back the next year."