An elite athlete from Madrid has emerged after spending 500 days isolated in a cave without any external contact.
Athlete, mountaineer, climber, and speleologist Beatriz Flamini entered the cave in Granada Province, Andalucia , on 20th November 2021 and emerged yesterday, 14th April.
She was monitored and recorded throughout the entire experience for a documentary series on extreme isolation.
It was Beatriz herself who contacted the production company Dokumalia two years ago and offered to take on the challenge.
She also volunteered to participate in various scientific studies aimed at evaluating the mental and physical repercussions of the extreme conditions she would face during her time underground.
Media in Spain are reporting that Beatriz has now broken the world record for the longest stay in a cave completely alone underground without any contact with the outside world or any reference to time.
The previous record, was held by Italian woman Christine Lanzoni, who spent 269 days inside an underground laboratory in 2007.
The cave that Beatriz spent well over a year in is located on the Costa Tropical, is 70 metres deep, and is not reached by sunlight.
“Timecave” project spokeswoman Elena Mera explained that the elite athlete “will have tried to calculate time somehow, but she really doesn’t know what day it is or what has happened outside”.
During her time underground, Beatriz would have been unaware of the Russian invasion of Ukraine or the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
The documentary series of her experience will show her meals, exercises, good and bad days, problems and difficulties, and changes in her body and mind, among other things.
Julio Santiago of the University of Granada has been involved in the project studying how social isolation and extreme temporal disorientation affect time perception.
Research groups from the University of Almeria have also been involved, studying the possible neuropsychological and cognitive changes brought about by the extreme challenge.
A team supplied Beatriz with food and water without crossing paths or maintaining communication with her during her time underground, during which she read 60 books.
Psychobiology professor Maria Dolores Roldan explained that caves are a hostile environment, as there is no visual or sound reference, there is always the same silence, the same darkness, or the same droplet of water falling.
She explained that Beatriz will have problems with memory, decision-making, attention and concentration, reaction time, abstraction, and reasoning abilities, and she will feel slower and more erratic due to her time alone in the darkness.