Slovenia rescue operation underway after rising water levels leave 5 trapped in cave

  • Rescuers in Slovenia are working to extract five people who became trapped in Krizna Jama cave for over two days due to high water levels.
  • The rescue operation is expected to be completed by mid-afternoon on Monday if everything goes as planned.
  • The Krizna Jama cave, with emerald-colored underground lakes, is accessible only by boats and rafts with a tour guide.

Slovenia’s rescuers are hoping on Monday to extract five people who have been trapped in a cave for more than two days because of high water levels.

The rescue operation should be completed by mid-afternoon if everything goes as planned, said Sandi Curk, who is coordinating the effort.

A family of three adults and their two guides got stuck in the Krizna Jama cave in southwestern Slovenia on Saturday because of heavy rainfall.

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The 5-mile cave system with a string of emerald-colored underground lakes is accessible only in boats and rafts and with a guide.

Rescuer inspects map

A rescuer inspects the map of Krizna Jama cave near Grahovo, Slovenia, on Jan. 7, 2024. Slovenian authorities say five people are trapped in a cave in the southwest of the country because of high water levels caused by heavy rainfall. (Pop TV via AP)

The group entered on Saturday morning but got stranded as subterranean waters rose swiftly. The water levels dropped by Monday, raising hopes they can be brought out.

A team of six divers headed Monday toward the trapped people, who are located in a dry area more than a mile inside the cave. The plan is for the group to board a small boat that the divers will escort out of the cave, rescuers said.

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The water temperature inside the cave is 42 degrees fahrenheit with very low visibility.

Rescuers said all five people are doing well despite spending two nights inside the cave. A group of divers on the weekend had brought in a heated tent, food and clothes.

“The are fine. They miss cigarettes and phone contact,” said Damir Podnar, one of the divers.

Slovenia is known for its more than 14,000 caves. Krizna Jama is the fourth biggest known underground ecosystem in the world.

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