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Group of 5 rescued after rising water traps them in Slovenian cave

Heavy rains flood exits trapping a family of 3 adults and their 2 guides
In this photo taken from video, rescuers gather outside the Krizna Jama cave near Grahovo, Slovenia, Sunday, 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. The group includes a family of three and two guides who have been stuck in the Krizna Jama cave since Saturday when water levels rose inside, blocking the way out. (Pop TV via AP)

Slovenia’s rescuers on Monday successfully extracted five people who have been trapped in a cave for more than two days because of high water levels, local media reported.

The rescue operation was possible on Monday after water levels inside the cave receded, Walter Zakrajsek, the head of the Cave Rescue Service, told the STA news agency.

The operation was completed around midafternoon following an hourslong rescue operation by a six-member team of divers.

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.

The eight-kilometer (five-mile) cave system with a string of emerald-colored underground lakes is accessible only in boats and rafts and with a guide.

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

A team of six divers headed earlier on Monday toward the trapped people, who were located in a dry area about two kilometers (more than a mile) inside the cave. The divers then brought the people out in a small boat.

The water temperature inside the cave was 6 C (42 F) with very low visibility.

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

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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