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Four men were rescued in the early hours of this morning after losing their bearings inside the Box Hill stone mines, near Kurcham.
The rescue operation involved Wiltshire Police, Avon Siyandkar Police, Somerset Police, & Wilts Fire Service, Department of Defense, Hanson UK Police and volunteers from Mendip Cave Rescue
Police described the group as “foolish” for entering the caves without specialized equipment
The volunteer rescuers, some of whom had to take up their full-time jobs this morning, stressed the need to explore the youth “responsibly”
Martin Grass, Cave Rescue Secretary in Mendip, said: “We were called at 115:00 after receiving the message that four people were missing in the stone mines in Box. Parents of one of the group raised the alarm.
There are quite a few stone mine entrances but these are given a map reference that occurred a few hundred meters from Quarrymans Arms at Box Hill
“I woke up the volunteers and we got a team there that met the police at the Quarrymans
“They know the area very well and go into the nearest entrance and finally locate the party
“I think the group was so far away that it took an hour to get back to the entrance.”
The Bux stone mines consist of an intricate network of tunnels, which arose from the Bath stone mining work, which began initially during the Roman occupation of Britain.
The owners of the mine, Hanson UK, have closed a number of entrances, but the so-called “urban explorers” still find ways to access the maze of tunnels.
A Wiltshire Police spokesperson said: “This morning’s operation was the result of several agencies working together and we would like to thank all the participants who helped us reach a successful conclusion.
“ Fortunately, last night’s adventures for the four trapped males ended by taking them out, albeit three hours after the initial call, but without any of them injured – or the rescuers.
“Exploring mines and caves is dangerous at the best of times, but doing it at night and without specialized knowledge or equipment is more than just idiocy urging anyone not to intentionally put themselves – or emergency services and rescue workers – at risk by staying home!”
The police confirmed that there were no serious injuries and no one was taken to hospital
Mr. Haas also revealed that there have been more recalls at the Bux stone mines compared to Mandeb Caves during the past two years.
He said, “There is a very simple reason – we have an increase in the number of urban explorers trying to explore deserted space or caves like this.”
“ Exploration is great, but we always recommend that people join a cave club, have the right equipment and always have adequate lighting.
Box Quarry is also a special site of scientific interest due to the large number of bats squatting
Box Quarry is also located at the western end of the DoD’s Tunnel Quarry site and is partly owned by the Department of Defense as well as Hanson UK.
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World News – GB – Dramatic rescue after four men are lost in the Box Stone mines