climate change cave
A cave (illustrative purposes only) Eelco Rohlin

Forty rescuers have been deployed to help free an injured man trapped in a cave in north east Spain.

The 45-year-old man was exploring the Cuberes cave in Catalonia with four friends when he slipped and fell around 20ft into a crevice roughly three hours walk from the cave entrance.

His friends called emergency services after unsuccessfully trying to reach him themselves.

A team of 40 rescue experts – 12 police officers, 19 rescue specialists, a doctor, a nurse and seven cavers – were flown to the remote Conca de Dalt region on Saturday night (20 June).

Despite working through the night, the team was unable to free the injured man due to the narrow width of the tunnels.

Officials said that the man had sustained serious injuries and would need to be evacuated on a stretcher.

On 21 June, an additional emergency medical group arrived on the scene to assist the other rescuers.

Last year, an injured cave explorer was rescued from Germany's deepest cave system after spending 12 days stuck underground.

Johann Westhauser was successfully freed from the Riesending, a 19.2km underground labyrinth of vertical shafts and bottlenecks, near the city of Berchtesgaden on the Bavarian Alps.

He was hit on the head by falling rocks while exploring the cave and suffered severe injuries to the head and torso that prevented him from climbing back, leaving him stuck around 6km from the cave entrance at a depth of nearly 1km.