19 September 2014
Corpo Nazionale Soccorso Alpino e Speleologico (CNSAS), the Italian national alpine and speleological rescue organisation has reported that a fatal accident happened in a Sardinian cave, Italy, on September 18. This is the location where ESA’s CAVES training course took place.
Rescue operations were initiated immediately but could not save the life of the local caver, who suffered a fatal fall. Specialists are working to retrieve his body.
The cave had been the site of ESA’s astronaut training course, but the astronauts had already left the cave several hours before the accident. The victim, Luigi Mereu, 32 years old, was a member of the local speleologist group Gruppo Grotte Nuorese that was helping with equipment transfer out of the cave.
All participants on the ESA course are immeasurably saddened by the accident.
Out of respect for the deceased, ESA has stopped regular communication activities for CAVES. ESA will carefully evaluate the results of the accident investigation before taking any decisions on further actions.
We join in grieving with the family and friends of the deceased for their tragic loss