Rescuers: German researcher out of cave

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After nearly two weeks underground in Germany's deepest cave, injured researcher Johann Westhauser has been rescued and brought to the surface, German media have reported.

Rescuers brought cave researcher Johann Westhauser to the surface on Thursday at 11:44 a.m. local time (9:44 UTC).

A medical station had been set up at the mouth of the cave so Westhauser could receive immediate medical attention.

After a short pause overnight, the team resumed work early on Thursday morning to bring Westhauser, who was strapped to a stretcher, the final 180 meters (590 feet) to the surface. The progress was slow going, however, because the team had to haul him by hand through the narrow winding passage.

Westhauser suffered head injuries in a rockslide on June 8 while nearly 1,000 meters underground in the Riesending cave system in the Alps near the Austrian border. He had been with two companions when the rockslide struck, however they escaped without significant injury.

Riesending, which literally translates as "massive thing," was discovered in 1995 during surveying work and is Germany's deepest and largest cave system. It boasts a 19.2-kilometer-long network of paths extending 1,148 meters below ground.

Since the accident, rescuers and doctors from Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Italy have helped in the complicated rescue.