A father has died after being caught in an indoor cave at a tourist attraction.
Carl O’Keeffe, 49, was playing with children at a birthday party eight days ago when he slipped and got caught in a “narrow tunnel” at the Kong Adventure Centre in Keswick, Cumbria.
He was stuck for four hours before he could be rescued and suffered crush injuries.
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The experienced climber was rushed to the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle, but tragically died from his injuries on Sunday.
More than 50 people from Keswick Mountain Rescue, the air ambulance, fire brigade and cave rescuers had taken part in the rescue, where they reached Mr O’Keeffe by taking part of the attraction to pieces.
His sister Olivia Short, said: “I sat with Carl and said goodbye forever. He was my baby brother and over the last few years became my best friend.
“I loved him dearly and we were in contact daily doing word challenges and exchanging weird facts of nature.
“It became apparent that the injuries were severe and he would not be able to survive.
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“He was then moved to a private room and I was able to stay with him so that he could die with some dignity.
“I’m broken-hearted. As are the rest of our family.”
Other members of the family said: “He was a strong advocate for the neurodiverse community. He taught people to learn what adjustments they needed in life and to not only accept them but to live them.
“He was often seen in dark glasses and a fedora hat as he was photophobic. He had a brilliant mind and was in the process of applying to start an astrophysics PhD.
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“He was fascinated by solar storms and had been predicting the one that happened this week while he slept.
“He spent years having the NASA Hubble photos tattooed onto his arm.
“We cannot stress enough what an amazing job the emergency services did in very difficult circumstances.”
A spokesman for Cumberland Council said: “We have been notified of an incident that took place at the Kong Adventure Centre, Keswick, and are investigating the matter, as the regulating body.”
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