An Easter vacation has turned into tragedy for a trio of men from Seville. After failing to report to their group last Tuesday, the three cavers were reported as missing. After search teams located the men deep in a ravine a rescue operation was commenced. They were found on Saturday, but due to the extreme difficulty of the terrain, recovery was delayed. It is confirmed as of today that only one of the men has survived.
The group of three, Juan Bolivar, Jose Antonio Martinez and Gustavo Virues, two of whom were police officers, were in a tight spot. They were caving high up in the Atlas Mountains in southern Morocco when they were trapped in a ravine estimated to be 1,300 feet deep. Rescue workers had to slowly work their way down the ravine, as it was inaccessible by helicopter.
Juan Bolivar, the sole surviving caver, was admitted to a hospital in Ouarzazate, which serves as the capital for the mountains province of the same name. The other two men died during rescue operations. Gustavo Virues was lost as the three men’s recovery commenced, and the second man, Jose Antonio Martinez, died late Sunday night. Both deaths were confirmed by the Spanish Interior Ministry.
The mountains where the men were caving is rugged and inhospitable, separating much of North Africa from the Sahara Desert, with some peaks reaching upwards of 13,000 feet. While the three men were experienced cavers, it was noted that they did go without a guide.
There is still speculation as to how they ended up in this tragic situation. It is possible that one of the men slipped on ice, the Atlas Mountains still being covered in snow, and carried the two others with them. It is not uncommon practice for mountaineers and cavers to connect to each other with a single rope to ensure no one person gets lost.
It is expected that Juan Bolivar will survive despite multiple wounds and broken bones. The bodies of the other two cavers have yet to be taken from the ravine, once again due to the difficulty of the area. Moroccan authorities are working to expedite the process for the families of the deceased.
Visually follow these ladies who met at camp and traveled together hitting upon Morocco, Chile, Belize, Mexico, and Peru — as well as a bond created by dozens of shared memories and fun within these beautiful countries: