Who We Are
South & Mid Wales Cave Rescue Team (SMWCRT) is a volunteer organisation and charity established in 1946 to assist people and animals in need underground. We are one of the oldest and largest rescue teams in the country, covering caves and mines sites across all of South & Mid Wales, an area containing some of the longest and deepest caves in the UK!
What We Do
Our primary role is that of a cave rescue team, set up to support cave and mine explorers, but we also work closely with Mountain Rescue, and other rescue teams to respond to a wide range of incidents on behalf of the Police and Fire services.
In addition to cave rescues, we are also called out to animal rescues, provided technical support to other rescue teams and emergency services, and searching for missing people.
Our skills and experience have supported major incidents such as the Gleision Colliery disaster (2011), searching for the missing school girl April Jones (2012), providing assistance on the Thailand Cave Rescue (2018) and carrying out the longest stretcher carry in UK history through the OFD cave system (2021).
Registered charity number (1016463)
How We Do It
We rely on volunteer time and public donations to operate this free rescue service. With around 130 members we are one of the largest rescue teams in the UK, required as some of our rescues have lasted 3 days or more and can take place anywhere in our 5500km² operational area.
We have a headquarters and depot at Penwyllt in the Swansea Valley where our Rescue Equipment, Landrover Ambulance and Rescue Control base are located. This is supported by a secondary base near Llangattock in Powys which covers the caves in the Gwent area. We also maintain a store of specialist mines rescue equipment in Mid Wales.
We use a 1:10 ratio to calculate expected rescue times. That means if a casualty is 1 minute into a cave it will likely take 10 minutes to get them to the surface, once we have arrived. 1 hour in to a cave means a 10 hour rescue. As we have many classic caving trips that are 6-10 hours long this means that some rescues can take multiple days.