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Explorer's fast recovery surprises doctors

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Explorer's fast recovery surprises doctors
Johann Westhauser sits up in bed in his clinic in Murnau. Photo: DPA/Unfallklinik Murnau
17:50 CEST+02:00
Explorer Johann Westhauser, who was rescued from Germany's deepest cave less than two weeks ago, may soon be discharged from hospital, his doctor said on Tuesday.

Just nine days after Westhauser's spectacular rescue from an 11-day ordeal trapped deep inside a cave in the Bavarian Alps, he is almost ready to go back to his normal life.

"He's almost completely back to health," said Marc Schaan, head of the neuro-rehabilitation clinic in Murnau, Bavaria, on Tuesday.

Westhauser is feeling much better, Schaan said, and has been enjoying regular visits from his family.

Medical professionals had been banking on a much longer healing period for the scientist, who works for the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. 

"He'll need a little bit longer to rehabilitate," said Schaan, who along with his colleagues initially said Westhauser would require several months to fully heal.

According to Schaan, the explorer will now undergo a period of rehabilitation before he can be sent home.

The 52-year-old received a skull injury when he was hit by a falling rock around 1,000 metres below ground in the Riesending cave near Berchtesgaden, Bavaria in early June.

Rescue mission chief Klemens Reindl spoke of a "mammoth task" which involved 202 rescuers below ground out of a total of 728 staff and volunteers in caving, medical and emergency services from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy and Croatia.

The cave has since been closed off with a huge steel fence to prevent curious visitors attempting to enter.

SEE ALSO: Rescued explorer transferred to clinic

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