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02nd May 2023

Man dies after getting stuck in cave at indoor climbing centre

Callum Boyle

His family say they have been left ‘broken-hearted’

A man has died after he was stuck in a cave at an indoor climbing centre in the Lake District, leaving his family “broken-hearted”.

Carl O’Keefe, 49, was at a birthday party with his niece at the Kong Adventure Centre in Keswick, Cumbria on April 22.

Sky News reported that O’Keefe was with four children where he slipped and became stuck inside one of the facility’s caves, where he was stuck for more than four hours.

Staff tried to rescue him but were unsuccessful, which resulted in them calling the emergency services to attend as those working at the centre dismantled parts of the climbing wall to allow access to the caving tunnels.

Police, Cumbria fire and rescue, Keswick mountain rescue, Cumbria Ore Mines rescue unit, Great North air ambulance and the North West ambulance service’s hazardous area response team were all at the scene.

After being rescued, the 49-year-old was taken to the intensive care unit at Cumberland Infirmary with “crush injuries”.

A Facebook post from O’Keefe’s older sister, Olivia Short, said that his cause of death was as a result of multiple-organ failure.

“At 3pm today I sat with Carl and said goodbye forever,” she wrote. “He was my baby brother and over the last few years became my best friend.

“It became apparent that the injuries were severe and he would not be able to survive. He was then moved to a private room and I was able to stay with him so that he could die with some dignity.

“I’m broken-hearted, as are the rest of our family.”

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