INTRODUCTION: A British expedition has just returned from the island of Borneo, where its members found the world's largest known cave chamber.
GV Members of expedition carry rubber dinghy in to entrance of cave.
GV & SV Cavers paddling rubber dinghy inside cave. (2 SHOTS)
GV TILT UP Rock face in cave.
GVs Cavers manoeuvre dinghy along water channel in cave. (2 SHOTS)
GV Two cavers pick up equipment beside water.
GV Two cavers negotiate rock corridor on foot.
GV Two cavers climbing out of torrent on to rocky ledge.
GV TILT DOWN Underground waterfall.
GV Cavers on high ledge at back of cave.
NOTE TO EDITORS: This film is restricted to one showing in scheduled news programmes. It is an extract from an hour-long documentary on the expedition, which is being prepared by Chameleon Film Services Ltd., Kidd House, Whitehall Road, Leeds LS12 1RJ, Yorkshire, England. Telephone 0532 38531. Telex 557804. Chameleon film retain all archive rights.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: INTRODUCTION: A British expedition has just returned from the island of Borneo, where its members found the world's largest known cave chamber. It is in the Mulu National Park in Sarawak, one of the two Malaysian states in Borneo.
SYNOPSIS: The 22-man expedition entered the vast complex of caves knowing that there might be a huge cavern inside. A previous expedition three years ago, sent by the Royal Geographical Society, suspected that there could be; and in fact got to within about 200 metres (yards) of it. It is about two kilometres (mote than a mile) from the entrance.
Everything in the complex - rock faces, passages, underground water courses - is on a massive scale. The expedition leader, Mr. Andy Eavis, said he and his party had discovered another 50 kilometres (30 miles) of passages, - nearly as much again as had been found by the first expedition. This meant that the Mulu Park system was already known to be one of the longest cave complexes in the world; and he believed there were hundreds of kilometres (miles) of passages yet to be found.
But as the leading group of explorers edged their way further and further in to the heart of the complex, the greatest discovery of all lay ahead: a giant cavern about a kilometre (more than half a mile) long, 250 metres (yards) wide, and 70 metres (nearly 230 feet) high. The floor area is as big as 16 football pitches. The chamber has still to be thoroughly chartered, but it is believed to be about two and a half times the size of the Big Room (as it is called) of the Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico in the United States. Up to now, that was the largest known single chamber.
Mr. Eaves said he and two colleagues were overawed when they discovered the cavern. "Our lights just disappeared into the distance", he said. "When we shouted to each other, the echo lasted seven seconds, so we could tell we were in a huge cave.