Cave man Jim rescued by local heroes

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SELKIRK-based Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue Team came to the rescue of an 83-year-old man who was stuck overnight in a mineshaft, writes Kenny Paterson.

Cave enthusiast Jim Salvona was exploring disused shafts in the Loanhead area of Midlothian when he slipped down a ladder.

He was forced to stand for most of the night with no food and was eventually found after nearly 15 hours underground.

The rescue team was contacted by Lothian and Borders Police at 10pm on Tuesday of last week, around five hours after Mr Salvona, from Edinburgh, fell and three hours after he was reported missing by his wife Louise.

A search dog and nine members of the rescue team, headed by team leader Steve Penny, of Lindean, were mobilised at 12.30am last Wednesday following a request by the police to search for Mr Salvona’s vehicle on farm tracks around the Bilston and Roslin areas.

It was located at 5am, allowing the search to be narrowed considerably and Mr Salvona was found south of Loanhead at 8am.

He was conscious and in good spirits, according to Mr Penny, and was pulled from the mine using ropes and rigging equipment, with TVMRT member Gary Yorke, of Tweedbank, featuring in photographic coverage of the rescue.

The octogenarian was taken to hospital.

He was treated for mild hypothermia and suspected spinal injuries before being allowed home.

Mr Penny added: “This was a complex operation involving multiple agencies operating in very difficult terrain.

“We and SCRO (Scottish Cave Rescue Association) utilised our specialist rescue skills in order to reach and extract the casualty before handing over to the Scottish Ambulance Service.

“We are very pleased that this incident had a happy outcome and wish the gentleman a speedy recovery from his experience.”