THE MOSSDALE TRAGEDY: REPLY FROM STEPHEN BROWN CORONER
Dr. A.G. Fincham,
President Leeds University Speleological Assn,
c/o The University,
Dear Dr. Fincham,
I received the Memorandum headed "Closure of Mossdale Caverns" dated the 6th instant, of which you are one of the signatories, and I have the following comments-to make thereon:
1 I think the final sentence in para. l of the memorandum represents your opinion or wishes, and can hardly be accepted as a statement of fact, After all, it would be utterly impossible, between the 2nd July and 6th July, to ascertain that your opinions have been unanimously accepted by all other Cave Rescue personal and Speleologists throughout the United Kingdom.
2 As I understand it, the primary object of sealing up the entrance was to ensure that the bodies’ emtombed in the cavern remain undisturbed, and also to discourage, so far as practicable, other persons in the future from obtaining access to what Has-been proved to be a dangerous cave. Any attempt to "unseal" the cave is likely to defeat both of these objects, and if the entrance were
to be re-opened and gated, this would, I think, inevitably encourage people to obtain access to the cave. In any event, having regard to the fact that the ground in the vicinity of Mossdale is liable to move, any attempt to seal it with a gate may only be effective temporarily.
3 It is appreciated that other entrances to the cave system may become opened, but I sincerely hope with the approval of the owners of the property, all known entrances will, from time To time, be closed in such a way as to prevent access
It is hoped that the closure of known entrances to the cave system will effectively discourage pot-holers and others from attempting to gain access to what, after all, is the grave of the 6 young men who died on the 24th June last.
Finally, I note your suggestion that the entrances should be re-excavated, gated and the access closely controlled. This, however, would involve expense for which no funds, of which I am aware, are available, and I know of no person or authority who could properly be asked to accept responsibility for exercising such control.