Tributes to Bridgnorth teenager killed in cave roof collapse
Friends of a teenager who was killed when a cave roof collapsed during a camping trip have set up internet sites paying tributes to a “great friend and amazing rugby player”.
Police last night named the 16-year-old who died in the tragedy as Aiden Peter Brookes of Paulbrook Road, Bridgnorth.
He was pronounced dead at the Princess Royal Hospital, Telford, following the accident at Hermitage Caves, off Lodge Lane, Bridgnorth shortly after 2am yesterday.
Friends said Aiden was hit in the chest by a 3ft boulder and they had fought desperately to save him using mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
A second teenager, an 18-year-old girl, was also injured and remains in hospital in a stable condition.
Last night nearly 1,000 people had joined two Facebook groups to pay tribute to Aiden, who was a pupil at Oldbury Wells School.
Scores of messages had been left by school friends, fellow army cadets and residents of Bridgenorth.
Sam Downing, who set up one tribute group, said: “Aiden was a great friend, an amazing rugby player and a good corporal at cadets.
“I have never met a nicer person in my life, the most laid back happy person I’ve known.
“He will be missed by all of his friends very much and we shall never forget him.”
Zac Hampton, left a message saying: “Such a loss, my sympathies to Aiden’s family and friends or anyone else that knew him.
“Such a cool, energetic lad, you wouldn’t find another nicer lad in the whole of West Mercia Wing. R.I.P Aiden.”
School friend Tom Lane added: “Absolutely shocked about this news, heard it when I woke up and watched the news. Really nice lad, he will be missed at Oldbury that’s for sure.”
Aiden and around 20 friends were celebrating the beginning of the Easter holidays by spending the night at the beauty spot, a popular teenage hangout just outside the town.
Joe Cooper, 16, who was part of the party, said: “The stone just fell out of nowhere, it just toppled on to Aiden while he was asleep next to the fire.”
West Mercia Police are continuing to investigate what caused the cave to collapse.
Officers at the scene said the group had made a fire in the enclave, which is approximately the width of two football goal posts and no more than ten feet deep.
Geologists have also visited the scene. One theory is that the fire dried out all the moisture absorbed into the rock over the winter months, which caused it to weaken.
Scene of crime officers were examining the cave and surrounding area, about 100ft off the road, through a gap in a hedge and up a steep and muddy track, which was sealed off.
A parent of a boy who had been camping at the scene has called for the cave to be closed for good.
The dad had been visiting Hermitage Caves with his 16-year-old son.
He explained that his son had narrowly avoided being involved in the accident as he ordered him home at around midnight.
He said the victim was “a nice young lad who wouldn’t say boo to a goose”.
A post mortem was held yesterday.
Aiden’s death has been referred to South Shropshire Coroner Anthony Sibcy who is expected to open an inquest later this week.