Real deployment right before a lecture about cave rescue

Magyar Barlangi Mentőszolgálat Cave Rescue Pál-völgyi Mátyás-hegyi-barlang Caverescue Hungarian Cave Rescue Service ECRA

March 2024 is the month of caves. This afternoon, as part of the Month of Caves series of events in the Danube-Ipoly National Park, I (A. Hegedűs) planned to give a presentation about our rescue mission in Turkey last autumn.

Shortly before the programme, the BMSz (Hungarian Cave Rescue Service) Hotline received an alarm that a caver had taken a bad step and dislocated his ankle at "Globe Hall" in the Mátyás Cave. As there were still two hours before the lecture, I thought I could usefully help with the rescue during the first hour and a half, so after a few seconds of thought I headed for the cave.

With the cave rescuers nearby, we arrived on the scene shortly after the alarm was raised and the rescue began. The four of us were the first to descend into the cave with the medical team (2 doctors, a paramedic and an assistant), with the medical equipment needed to treat the injured. On arrival at the site, the injured was found to be in good condition and the cave tour guide had provided him with thermal protection against cold (the temperature in the cave is 12 degrees C / 55F).

Magyar Barlangi Mentőszolgálat Cave Rescue Pál-völgyi Mátyás-hegyi-barlang Caverescue Hungarian Cave Rescue Service ECRA Examination revealed that the casualty's vital parameters (blood pressure, blood oxygen level, body temperature, etc.) were within normal range. The injured ankle was fixed in a splint and we made him transportable. The patient's pain was also minimized by proper limb fixation.

I then resurfaced to give the planned lecture in the adjacent Szemlő-hegyi cave's auditorium. By this time, there were plenty of qualified cave rescue personnel on site.

Additional cave rescue teams arrived in the meantime and constructed ropeways and pulley systems where required for vertical manoeuvres in pits, and then began to transport the injured to the surface. At the so-called BETE Hall, the rescue team descended using ropes, then climbed up the other side of the gorge, through the Opera Hall, along the Wild Waters Route (Vadvizek-útja), and then along the Theatre (Színház) - Laci-stairs (Laci lépcső) - Ruler (Vonalzó) - Great Hall - Glory (Glória) - "Mohos-szorító" - Bastion (Bástya) - Entrance route, a section of about 400 metres underground, which took an hour and a half to complete. In the rescue operation also participated 3 members of the Bakony Cave Rescue Service.

The injured man reached the surface at 15:30, where he was picked up by the National Ambulance Service's "Csillaghegy" Unit, who transported the injured Singaporean hiker to the Defence Hospital for further examination and treatment.

Magyar Barlangi Mentőszolgálat Cave Rescue Pál-völgyi Mátyás-hegyi-barlang Caverescue Hungarian Cave Rescue Service ECRA The accident occurred while descending from the BETE Hall to the Globe Hall, presumably due to a misstep. This site is part of the 'Great Circle' hiking trail visited by foreign and domestic tourists. During the hikes, visitors can tour the undeveloped sections of the caves with the help of qualified cave guides, where they can learn about the caves and get a glimpse into the world of cave explorers.

Some 6,000 people chose this way of visiting the caves last year.

The Hungarian Cave Rescue Service has been in operation since 1961, helping more than 500 people during the decades. The members of the Service are all volunteers who take part in exercises and rescues in their free time and now at the expense of their working hours.

The Service is a non-governmental organisation, and most of its operations are covered by members' fees. If you would like to support our work, you can do so by donating 1% of your personal income tax to NGOs, or you can send us a donation online. To support our work directly, click here and to donate 1% of your tax here.


Photos: Márton Kovács


Below is a map of the Mátyás Cave. The red circle indicates the location of the accident. Click on the image and find the way out using the text.

Magyar Barlangi Mentőszolgálat Cave Rescue Pál-völgyi Mátyás-hegyi-barlang Caverescue Hungarian Cave Rescue Service ECRA

All Stories

Rescue in a 1000 meters deep cave in Turkey

UPDATE: September 11, 2023 11:38 p.m
Magyar Barlangi Mentőszolgálat Cave Rescue Turkey Caverescue Hungarian Cave Rescue Service ECRA

After 58.5 hours of hard work  with the participation of nearly 200 rescuers on the spot and with the help of almost as many background supporters from 10 countries, in frame of a huge international cooperation as one team, we managed to transport Mark up to the surface from the depth of 1040 m. Details coming soon.

In this caverescue operation participated the members of the Hungarian Cave Rescue Service and the Bakony Cave Rescue Service from Hungary.


UPDATE: September 11, 2023 3:26 p.m

 The stretcher with Mark is on level -150m!

Sickness in the Csodabogyós-cave

Csodabogyós-barlang Balatonederics

On the afternoon of 28th of August 2023, the Bakonyi Cave Rescue Service started a cave rescue mission.

Caves are not only natural values that must be protected due to their non-renewable formations or fragile ecological balance, but they can also hide valuable archaeological sites, which can open a window to the world of the bygone past for knowledgeable specialists. A few months ago, the researchers of the Csodabogyós cave at Balatonederic discovered some unexpected interesting findings. They found unusual remains of bones and teeth in the debris near the entrance of the cave. The cave explorers invited paleontologists, geologists and archaeologists to the cave, who began the methodical and scientific exploration of the site, hoping to learn more about the small vertebrates that lived in the Miocene age.

Yesterday, during the field work in the cave, a member of the MTA-MTM Paleontological Research Group fell ill. Late in the afternoon, during the work underground, a lady researcher suddenly fell ill and - although the she was near the entrance - it seemed clear that she would not be able to leave the cave without assistance.

Rescue of an ankle injury victim at the Thirring cliffs

Dobogókő turista baleset mentés hegyimentés barlangi mentőszolgálat Thirring-sziklák körút cave rescue caverescue moutain rescueOn July 8, 2023, Dr. B.I., 73, was hiking in the Pilis with his wife and friends near Dobogókő on the Thirring trail. Shortly after 16.00 h, he stepped into a pit on the hiking trail and twisted his ankle, hurt himself and could not stand.

His family members alerted the Hungarian Cave Rescue Service (BMSz) on the basis of an alert sticker seen on Dobogókő. One group of our cave rescuers went from the warehouse with rescue equipment to the scene, another group went straight to Dobogókő.

AFrom the car park, it is possible to reach the site, which is located at the foot of the Thirring cliffs, under vertical walls, by walking a kilometre through the forest, descending 100 metres in the meantime.

The first team with the BMSz doctor arrived at the site shortly after 18h00 and started treating the injured.

The injured limb was secured and the man was placed in a special cave rescue stretcher - a suitable way to transport the patient in difficult terrain. While the injured man was being treated, the rest of the rescue team started to set up the ropeways for the transport.

At 19:09, the transport of the casualty began, with the decision of the team leader to use rope techniques to transport the casualty over the steep, forest terrain between large rocks. After overcoming a 100-metre difference in elevation, the stretcher was transported on the tourist road on the upper, almost horizontal section to the car park.

Tragedy and rescue in the Kossuth Cave - details

2022 Kossuth barlang mentés caverescue cave rescue Mede Márton Magyar Barlangi Mentőszolgálat

On April 3, 2022, Márton Mede has not returned from the end of his cave exploration work at the endpoint at Siphon three of the Kossuth Cave in Jósvafő, Hungary at a depth of -48 meters. His disappearance marked the beginning of Hungary's longest-ever week-long complex diving and cave rescue operation, which unfortunately only managed to bring the diver's body to the surface. As far as we know, at the moment, the tragedy was caused by an underwater collapse, during which the diver died immediately or very quickly. During the week of the rescue, a total of 20 organisations and more than 250 people were involved in the operation. The underwater part of the rescue was carried out by the Amphora diving club, the dry part of the cave was managed by the Hungarian Cave Rescue Service, the Association of Cave Rescuers of Northern Hungary, the Bakony Cave Rescue Service and the cave rescuers of Speleo Roznava, the surface management and logistics were carried out by the Pest County Search and Rescue Service, the Counter-Terrorism Centre, the Civil Protection, the Aggtelek National Park Directorate (ANPI) and the Municipality of Jósvafő. Several other organisations also provided assistance on the spot, which are reported in the article.

The author of this article is András Hegedűs (Juju), Head of training and development, Rescue Operation Leader at the Hungarian Cave Rescue Service. The detailed summary is published one year after the rescue.

Day one - we have a problem...

Sunday, early afternoon. I'm at work. Ricsi (Richárd Horváth, head of the Hungarian Cave Rescue Service - BMSz) calls me on the phone: the lead diver in Kossuth cave hasn’t come up at the given time, then the backup diver went searching after him... Who is it, do we know?...