Walker dies in 500ft Lake District fall

Dove Crag locator
Image caption The 50-year-old was with eight friends and planned to spend the night in a cave

A man has died after falling about 500ft (152 metres) while walking in the Cumbrian fells.

The 50-year-old, from Grimsby, was with eight friends who had planned to spend the night in Priest's Hole cave on Dove Crag on Saturday.

But he lost his footing and fell, suffering fatal injuries.

A team of rescuers, which included search dogs and a helicopter with heat-seeking equipment, led the rest of the group to safety.

Mike Blakey, leader of Patterdale Mountain Rescue, said: "The helicopter was able to direct the team straight to the man's location. He had slipped from a ledge and fallen approximately 150 metres vertically and had sustained fatal injuries.

"Unfortunately, due to weather conditions the helicopter was unable to assist further, which meant the team had to evacuate the man over a large boulder field and then down the valley on a stretcher to a Land Rover ambulance.

"This kind of evacuation is always complex as it involves belaying the stretcher down the mountainside and team members literally man-handling the stretcher over each boulder, through dense bracken and over streams."

'Arrive in daylight'

The seven-hour rescue operation involved almost 30 members of two mountain rescue teams, aided by seven search dog handlers.

Mr Blakey said there had been an increase in visitors to the Priest's Hole since it featured in a BBC documentary and warned people to be cautious.

He added: "We are seeing more and more people attempting to locate the Priest's Hole in the dark and without the right equipment. Indeed, during this rescue we came across three men who had been searching for the cave for a couple of hours.

"We really would like to remind people that the cave is on the front face of a vertical cliff and it is only accessible by one route. It is always best to plan to arrive in daylight."

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