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Thanks. Think I might houserule that to: heroes left in the dungeon is gone forever. The party might have survived but those players that lost their hero in the dungeon will have to pick another hero.
Think its a shame if their can be not last minute escapes.
I see why the rule is the way it is - it would be quite easy for one hero to run away and "save the day" if all of the other heroes died. But I quite like your idea.
I was already thinking of making it so that after a TPK the heroes would need to pick fresh heroes (it would be a good way to make use of them all).
I think that anyone who runs away should also lose all their renown. Seems only fair for leaving a friend to die.