Woman potholer rescued from 150 M cave near Bergamo

 FONTENO -- Alpine Rescue workers have rescued a 31-year-old Italian woman potholer who had been trapped in a cave 150 M below the suface in northern Italy since Sunday afternoon, rescue workers said. The speleologist, Ottavia Piana, had injured herself in the cave at Fonteno, in the Bergamo province. Although Piana was in a good physical state following her rescue, she had injured her leg and was quickly transported to hospital via helicopter.

 Piana was an experienced instructor of cave explorations and had been to the Bueno Fonteno cave several times, the cave in which she was trapped.

 Piana was eventually saved from the cave through the means of a stretcher lowered carefully down. No fewer than 60 members of the Alpine Rescue team from Lombardy helped in the operation, in addition to workers from surrounding areas such as the Emilia-Romagna region. The night before she was rescued it had been raining, making the already intricate mission much harder due to the limited physical space.

 It was Piana’s team mates who made the initial call for help. Two of them came out of the cave to seek phone signal and help in the nearby village of Fonteno while two other potholers stayed with her to await the arrival of help. While descending the 150 M, the rock on which she was gripping gave way and despite being hooked onto a rope, Piana fell a 1.5 M, hitting her leg against the cave wall.

 Described as ‘complex’ by the Alpine Rescue team, the cave contains a lot of water and extends for around 35 km.

 Corriere della Sera quoted a friend saying Piana was “experienced and cautious, an emerging figure in Bergamo speleology."

 "In the mountains you go to admire the landscape, but in caves you go down to bring something out, it's like going to the moon, we are explorers.”