It was in Isère, a few kilometers from Grenoble, that tragedy struck. Thursday, May 5, a professional speleologist died after a rise in water in the Cuves de Sassenage, an underground network backed by the Vercors massif, in the middle of a school trip for college students. Schooled in fifth grade in an establishment in Saint-Ismier, the teenagers were visiting the site with a teacher and two speleologists when they were surprised by the rising waters. Panicked, the adults rushed to get the students out. They found themselves trapped.

The SAMU, the firefighters, the Group for recognition and intervention in perilous environments (Grimp), the Isère caving rescue, the CRS Alpes, the High mountain gendarmerie platoon (PGHM) and the gendarmerie group of the ‘Isère went there. According to the prefecture, an evacuation operation was launched “as soon as a favorable weather window presented itself”. Two adults, the teacher and a speleologist, had found refuge in a cavity. Unfortunately, the second caver did not have time. “During their progress, the rescue services discovered a body identified as that of one of the two guides”, indicates the press release from the prefecture.

Victim died saving schoolgirl

According to the Dauphiné Libéré, the victim is a very experienced professional speleologist. She is said to have died while rescuing, with the help of the second guide, a schoolgirl who was about to be swept away by the waters. “In about twenty minutes, the water rose very violently, forming a real wave,” a survivor told rescuers. In the process, the Grenoble prosecutor’s office opened an investigation to determine the circumstances of the accident. Among the professionals, it is amazement: “Nothing made it possible to predict such a phenomenon. All the professionals are incomprehension”, confides a source to our colleagues from the Dauphiné Libéré.

The drama took place during a school outing © Pixabay

Lara T.
Lara T.

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