Dad, 49, died after being 'compressed' for hours while trapped inside popular tourist attraction's cave | The Sun

A DAD died after being "compressed" for hours while he was trapped inside a popular tourist attraction's cave, an inquest heard.

Carl O'Keeffe, 49, was playing with his kids at a birthday party at Kong Adventure Centre in the Lake District, Cumbria, on April 22 when tragedy struck.

The dad-of-three from Lancaster fell and became trapped for four hours before he was eventually rescued.

Known for being an experienced climber, Carl suffered terrible crush injuries and tragically lost his life in hospital 10 days later.

An inquest into the death yesterday found he became seriously unwell while stuck in the narrow tunnel before mountain rescue volunteers, caving experts and firefighters could get to him.

Assistant coroner for Cumbria Dr Nicholas Shaw said: "Mr O'Keeffe unfortunately became stuck in a fibreglass tunnel at a caving experience centre, in Keswick


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"And he could not be extracted. It took several hours for specialist teams to extract him.

"He became quite unwell and his body was compressed.

"Unfortunately, despite the very best efforts of the intensive care team, it was clear he was not going to make a recovery, and, sadly, at that time palliative care was put in place."

The court heard staff at the adventure park tried to rescue Carl but sadly couldn't.

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His family recently paid tribute to the "devoted" dad who had a "brilliant mind".

They said: "Carl was a devoted parent and he will leave a huge hole in their lives.

"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.

"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."

Sister Olivia Shortpreviously added: "At 3pm today 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.

"I also got to spend alternate weekends with him and his children.

"I have been with him since his accident in Keswick on Saturday 22nd April. he was taken to Carlisle hospital intensive care with crush injuries.

"It became apparent that the injuries were severe and he would not be able to survive.

"He was then moved to a private room and I was able to stay with him so that he could die with some dignity.

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"I'm broken hearted. As are the rest of our family."

The inquest was suspended until a later date so specialist reports could be prepared.

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