Three Spanish tourists were left trapped underground in France’s Padirac Cave on Sunday after failing to hear staff announcing that visiting hours were over.
It is believed that the visitors at the famous cave in the Occitan department of Lot were using a new audio guide system with headphones that prevented them from hearing the closure calls.
Once they realised access to the staircase and lift that take visitors back to the top had been closed, they called out for help but all staff at Padirac Cave had left by then, French daily 20 Minutes reported.
It remains unclear whether the trapped tourists had mobile phones with them or if they were unable to get network signal underground.
In the end it was a case of “mañana, mañana” for the Iberian trio, left with no other choice but to spend a surreal night underground.
?Padirac Cave Padirac, France ?: Sue Whiteman via @trover “Travelling around the South West of France and you could come across the Gouffre de Padirac. The Padirac caves are amazing with visitors descending 75m before entering the cave which is at a depth of 103m and a river system that is about 19km long. Take a boat trip along the subterranean system. Reasonably priced and so worth the visit. A short drive after your visit and a stop in a local village for soup du jour en vin rouge and, what a day!” #trover #discovery #padirac #france?? #cave #amazingplaces #travelinspiration #adventuretravel #destinationearth #wanderlusting #discovertheworld #thatview #outdooradventures #nomads #travel_captures
On Monday morning, staff were shocked to find the disgruntled tourists at the site.
They have since decided to press charges.
The experience could have been even more unpleasant for them had they been caught underground during the violent thunderstorms forecast for much of metropolitan France on Tuesday.
Padirac is a chasm – a deep fissure in the earth's surface or vertical cave of sorts- meaning the locked up tourists might have had to cope with heavy rainfall falling on them as well.
Padirac, France’s most popular underground site, receives 470,000 visitors a year.
This is the first time in the thirty years since it opened to the public that there has been an incident.
Visitors at Padirac descend 75 metres via a lift or a staircase before entering into the cave system, which is 103 metres deep and 19 kilometres long.
The cave, contains a subterranean river system that is partly navigable by boat, and is regarded as one of the most extraordinary natural phenomena of France’s Massif Central.