Slovenian Speleologist Hit By Rock Rescued After 30 Hours In A Cave Near Trieste

Simulation of rescue operations in Paranco cave, Trieste
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By Alessandra Ressa

After being unconscious for more than 30 hours in a cave in Slovenia, not far from the border with Trieste, a 33-yeat old speleologist was extracted alive at 4 a.m. this morning from a depth of over 100 meters by a specialized cave rescue team.

The woman was hit by a large rock in a Cernika cave, which caused the rupture of her helmet and a serious head trauma. She was transported by helicopter to the hospital in Ljubljana where she is still in critical conditions. She hasn’t regained consciousness since the accident occurred.

The young speleologist was exploring the cave with five other colleagues from Rakek Caving Society when she was injured. The rescue operations were extremely difficult because the vertical pits and tunnels reaching down to where she lay unconscious were particularly fragmented and narrow.

Map of the cave in Slovenia where the accident occurred (Courtesy of Scintilena)

Rescuers had to enlarge the passages with special explosives in order to have enough space to let a stretcher pass through, and this procedure required time.  Meanwhile, doctors remained by her side to monitor her health condition.  

A special heated room was created to prevent hypothermia, while medical personnel outside  set up a portable operating room to be transported inside the cave in case time of rescue had been further delayed.

The operations were efficiently carried forward by a special task force which involved 26 people of the Slovenian rescue team, considered by experts one of the best in the world.


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Alessandra Ressa
“Born to Italian-Scottish parents, an explosive combination, reason for my restlessness and love for good food, I’ve moved from San Francisco, California to Trieste 20 years ago. I have a degree in Mass Communication from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Master’s degree in International Cooperation from the Scuola Superiore di Studi Universitari in Pisa. In San Francisco I worked for several years as a journalist and press officer before moving to Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo and other war stricken countries with the United Nations. I am a professional journalist and English teacher, I love the outdoors, exploring caves and unusual places, travelling, meeting people, the opera, singing, the scent of the sea and the whistle of the wind. No other city in the world other than Trieste can offer all this.”


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