The six managed to eventually get up on to the one metre square rock. We weighed up all our options, including climbing out, but it was a 30 to 40 metre climb up the gorge. We had just a little bit of rope left and the side of the gorge was very wet. We decided against it, if one of us had fallen, he could have taken more with him in to the water and over the waterfalls. If anyone survived the first, the next two would have killed you.. Irons said. The six climbers roped themselves together, rationed the food, medical supplies and spare batteries for their torches. They also had to get comfortable while not trying to move. Three were suspended with their backs against the gorge, their feet on the rock and the raging current roaring below them. If anyone had fallen into the channel, they would have been sucked away. The problem was, by the time the group was on top of the rock, it was only 10.30 am. As usual I had taken all the precautions and as part of the back-up plan friends were instructed to call the emergency services if there had been no news of us by 6pm - so we knew that nothing was going to happen till at least 6pm at the earliest, Irons said. There was no way out and we had no choice but to stay - we could not go on any further down the gorge or someone would have died or been seriously injured. Irons' best fried called the emergency services at 6pm - 14 hours after the six had struggled on top of the rock. We tried not to move, we talked a lot, trying to keep each other happy, support each other and keep each other positive, we also had to keep awake. Come midnight, we assumed that any search would have been called off until the morning, but the emergency services were unbelievable and in fact worked through the night, risking their own lives. We managed to keep each other's spirits up trying not to fall off the rock as the wind rushed down the gorge. We worked extremely well as a team, if any one was flagging, they got a bit more food. The team, soaked in water, did a fantastic job, Irons said yesterday. At 6am we saw some lights flashing, we had been signalling throughout the night with our torches, but there was a lot of tree overhang across the roof of the gorge. Once the six had been located, it took the mountain rescue service some three hours to set up rescue equipment and lower three men down on ropes. The six, tired, aching, hungry and scared, although at this point elated, then had to make their way up the 30 metre rock face half climbing and half being pulled. We're all very fit, but after 24 hours, we were exhausted and the worst bit was the long walk back to the road. When we got there, we found our friends who had been there all night. The owner of the Escorca restaurant had been feeding them and the rescue teams all night - he would not accept any money - he said he was just pleased we had been found safely. We had escaped unscathed, in hindsight perhaps we sould not have gone up there, but the guides did not advise us against it and we had been there before. From what I understand the last time Gorg Blau over flowed was in 1994, I had never seen anything like the current and water up there, Irons said. The situation was a freak one and something you do not think is going to happen. The emergency service though were outstanding and we can not thank them enough.
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