Rescuers carry injured caver through tight spaces

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German Cave Rescue Under Way

BERLIN (AP) - Germany's mountain rescue service says it could complete the rescue of an injured cave researcher from the country's deepest cave on Thursday or Friday as experts make good progress through the labyrinth's passages and shafts.

Johann Westhauser suffered head injuries June 8 while nearly 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) underground in the Riesending cave system in the Alps near the Austrian border. Teams of rescue experts embarked last Friday to bring Westhauser, who is strapped to a stretcher, to the surface.

By Tuesday, they had raised him to about 500 meters (1,640 feet) below the ground.

Mountain rescue official Stefan Schneider told reporters the operation is on schedule.

He added: "Let's wait and see whether the rescue we're all eagerly awaiting comes off on Thursday or Friday."

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Rescuers carry injured caver through tight spaces
MARKTSCHELLENBERG, GERMANY - JUNE 11: In this undated handout photo a spelunker explores the Riesending cave where an explorer is currently lying injured 1,000 meters below since June 8, 2014 near Marktschellenberg, Germany. The man, along with two colleagues, was exploring the Riesending vertical cave, which is over 20km long and up to 1,148 meters deep, when he was struck by rocks and severely injured. Since then specialist rescue workers from Switzerland and Italy have arrived to help with the arduous rescue effort, which could take up to several more days and even weeks. (Photo by Bergwacht Bayern via Getty Images)
MARKTSCHELLENBERG, GERMANY - JUNE 16: In this handout image supplied by the Bavarian mountain patrol 'Bergwacht Bayern', Rescue workers transport injured spelunker Johann Westhauser from 700 meters underground towards the surface of the Riesending cave on June 16, 2014 near Marktschellenberg, Germany. Westhauser, along with two colleagues, was exploring the Riesending vertical cave, which is over 20km long and up to 1,148 meters deep, when he was struck by rocks and severely injured 1,000 meters underground on June 8. Since then specialist rescue workers from across Europe are helping with the arduous rescue effort, which will likely take at least several more days. (Photo by Bergwacht Bayern via Getty Images)
MARKTSCHELLENBERG, GERMANY - JUNE 16: In this handout image supplied by the Bavarian mountain patrol 'Bergwacht Bayern', Injured spelunker Johann Westhauser is transported with ropes by rescue workers from 700 meters underground towards the surface of the Riesending cave on June 16, 2014 near Marktschellenberg, Germany. Westhauser, along with two colleagues, was exploring the Riesending vertical cave, which is over 20km long and up to 1,148 meters deep, when he was struck by rocks and severely injured 1,000 meters underground on June 8. Since then specialist rescue workers from across Europe are helping with the arduous rescue effort, which will likely take at least several more days. (Photo by Bergwacht Bayern via Getty Images)
In this picture provided by Bavarian Red Cross/Berchtesgaden and taken Sunday June 8, 2014 a firefighters' car stands in front of a helicopter in a valley near Berchtesgaden, Germany. Rescuers were working Monday to recover a man stuck deep inside a cave in the German Alps after he was injured by falling rocks Sunday an effort that police said could take days as experts negotiate a tricky labyrinth of vertical shafts and bottlenecks. A four-member rescue team reached the 52-year-old German cave researcher early Monday inside the Riesending cave system, near Berchtesgaden in Germany’s southeastern corner, police said. (AP Photo/ho/Bayerisches Rotes Kreuz) MANDATORY CREDIT - EDITORIAL USE ONLY
In this picture provided by Bavarian Red Cross/Berchtesgaden and taken Sunday June 8, 2014 a rescuer enters a cave near Berchtesgaden, Germany. Rescuers were working Monday to recover a man stuck deep inside a cave in the German Alps after he was injured by falling rocks Sunday an effort that police said could take days as experts negotiate a tricky labyrinth of vertical shafts and bottlenecks. A four-member rescue team reached the 52-year-old German cave researcher early Monday inside the Riesending cave system, near Berchtesgaden in Germany’s southeastern corner, police said. (AP Photo/ho/Bayerisches Rotes Kreuz) MANDATORY CREDIT - EDITORIAL USE ONLY
In this picture provided by Bavarian Red Cross/Berchtesgaden and taken Sunday June 8, 2014 a rescuer enters a cave near Berchtesgaden, Germany. Rescuers were working Monday to recover a man stuck deep inside a cave in the German Alps after he was injured by falling rocks Sunday an effort that police said could take days as experts negotiate a tricky labyrinth of vertical shafts and bottlenecks. A four-member rescue team reached the 52-year-old German cave researcher early Monday inside the Riesending cave system, near Berchtesgaden in Germany’s southeastern corner, police said. (AP Photo/ho/Bayerisches Rotes Kreuz) MANDATORY CREDIT - EDITORIAL USE ONLY
MARKTSCHELLENBERG, GERMANY - JUNE 11: In this undated handout photo a spelunker explores the Riesending cave where an explorer is currently lying injured 1,000 meters below since June 8, 2014 near Marktschellenberg, Germany. The man, along with two colleagues, was exploring the Riesending vertical cave, which is over 20km long and up to 1,148 meters deep, when he was struck by rocks and severely injured. Since then specialist rescue workers from Switzerland and Italy have arrived to help with the arduous rescue effort, which could take up to several more days and even weeks. (Photo by Bergwacht Bayern via Getty Images)
MARKTSCHELLENBERG, GERMANY - JUNE 11: In this undated handout photo a spelunker explores the Riesending cave where an explorer is currently lying injured 1,000 meters below since June 8, 2014 near Marktschellenberg, Germany. The man, along with two colleagues, was exploring the Riesending vertical cave, which is over 20km long and up to 1,148 meters deep, when he was struck by rocks and severely injured. Since then specialist rescue workers from Switzerland and Italy have arrived to help with the arduous rescue effort, which could take up to several more days and even weeks. (Photo by Bergwacht Bayern via Getty Images)
MARKTSCHELLENBERG, GERMANY - JUNE 10: In this handout photo provided by the Bavarian Red Cross rescue workers gather at a tent near the entrance to the Riesending underground cave where an explorer is lying injured 1,000 meters below on June 10, 2014 near Marktschellenberg, Germany. The man, along with two colleagues, was exploring the Riesending vertical cave, which is over 20km long and up to 1,148 meters deep, when he was struck by rocks on June 8 and severely injured. Since then specialist rescue workers from Switzerland and Italy have arrived to help with the arduous rescue effort, which could take up to several more days and even weeks. (Photo Courtesy of Bayerisches Rotes Kreuz via Getty Images)
MARKTSCHELLENBERG, GERMANY - JUNE 10: In this handout photo provided by the Bavarian Red Cross rescue workers stand at the entrance to the Riesending underground cave where an explorer is lying injured 1,000 meters below on June 10, 2014 near Marktschellenberg, Germany. The man, along with two colleagues, was exploring the Riesending vertical cave, which is over 20km long and up to 1,148 meters deep, when he was struck by rocks on June 8 and severely injured. Since then specialist rescue workers from Switzerland and Italy have arrived to help with the arduous rescue effort, which could take up to several more days and even weeks. (Photo Courtesy of Bayerisches Rotes Kreuz via Getty Images)
MARKTSCHELLENBERG, GERMANY - JUNE 10: In this handout photo provided by the Bavarian Red Cross rescue workers unload supplises from a helicopter near the entrance to the Riesending underground cave where an explorer is lying injured 1,000 meters below on June 10, 2014 near Marktschellenberg, Germany. The man, along with two colleagues, was exploring the Riesending vertical cave, which is over 20km long and up to 1,148 meters deep, when he was struck by rocks on June 8 and severely injured. Since then specialist rescue workers from Switzerland and Italy have arrived to help with the arduous rescue effort, which could take up to several more days and even weeks. (Photo by Bayerisches Rotes Kreuz/Getty Images)
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