A lost tourist rescue from the Papp Ferenc Cave

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On the afternoon of February 23, 2019, Zoltán B., a 34-year-old tourist, equipped with a headlamp, climbed into the Papp Ferenc Cave which is on the border of village Pilisborosjenő, on the side of hill named Ezüsthegy. He spent about four hours in the cave and then headed out.

He got lost in the infamous, clothesline rubble labyrinth formed in the sandstone beneath the entrance, being unable to find a way out.

This place is extremely deceptive, you can even hear his voice from the surface, there are places where you can see the light of his lamp between the stones, everything seems to be very close - but in the narrow gaps where the sound and light still come through, it is very difficult to find the only path to the surface where there is enough place to get out.

His girlfriend was waiting at the entrance during this time, and it was a luck because she was able to call for help on the helpline (112).

The Pest County Disaster Management Operations Service marched to the site, also the VIII. District Professional Firefighting Command II. (Alpin), and the Pilisborosjenő Voluntary Fire Brigade Association, the Fire Fighting Doctoral Service and the 3rd district Professional Firefighting Brigade.

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They asked the center to call the Cave Rescue Organization during the march, at 18:30.

For the alarm, 35 people from the cave rescue members went to the scene, with rescue equipment and (knowing the cave) some demolition tools and also machines for possible need to expand the bottlenecks. We arrived at the scene at 19:25.

Meanwhile, in the cave, firefighters were able to approach the trapped man, and through a narrow gap (they didn’t find the only passage which can be got through), they gave the trapped guy an insulating foil against the cold, as well as some chocolate and a hot drink, which came him very useful,  he was getting very cold already.

Our cave rescuers went to the guy (named Zoltán) through the maze between the stone blocks, examining him first. Fortunately he had not any serious injuries, except for a few abrasions. After that, showing him the right way out, he was escorted to the surface with help, arriving at the entrance safely at 20:10

There was no need for flight expansion or more serious and possibly dangerous intervention.

The Papp Ferenc Cave is a highly protected one, its regular visit requires an officially trained cave tour guide and a prior permission of the directorate of the Danube-Ipoly National Park.

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The entire cave is very difficult to climb, its passages are full of constrictions and unstable debris, 400 meters long and 66 meters deep. The Directorate of the Danube Ipoly National Park recommends visiting the Papp Ferenc Cave only to very experienced cavers.

 

Photos: Márton Kovács