Two Teens rescued from Snail Shell Cave, TN

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Two Teens rescued from Snail Shell Cave, TN

Postby Scott McCrea » Jun 14, 2006 2:55 pm

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Postby Cheryl Jones » Jun 14, 2006 4:37 pm

Were they lost? Out of light? How far from the entrance were they found? Were they waiting for a rescue, or wandering around? Were cavers called to conduct the search? The report doesn't tell us, and those are juicy details we want to know! :wink:

At least they were smart enough to tell someone where they were going and give a time when they expected to return. :goodjob:

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Postby Ralph E. Powers » Jun 14, 2006 4:44 pm

Snail Shell was my very first cave eons ago when I started caving.


I got wet, cold, muddy and miserable... haven't stopped caving since. :kewl:

Glad those kids are alright and did the smart thing of at least having a expected to exit time.
Without the possibility of death, adventure is not possible. ~ Reinhold Messner


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Snail Shell Cave Rescue

Postby Larry E. Matthews » Jun 14, 2006 8:57 pm

I was headed west on I-40 this morning when I heard about the 2 lost teenagers in Snail Shell Cave. It was big news here on the Nashville radio stations. By noon, or shortly thereafter, they had been found alive and well.

The radio reports said that several cave rescue teams from across the state had been called in.

Preserve manager, Bob Biddix, lives close by. When I watched the local TV news at 5:00 on Channel 5, they showed Bob and he said a few words about the rescue. I suspect Bob Biddix was in charge of the rescue, if I had to guess.

The TV had some beautiful, color photos of the upstream entrance to the cave and a shot just inside the downstream entrance. Very, very inviting photos. I just hope they don't encourage other people to sneak into the cave.

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Re: Snail Shell Cave Rescue

Postby Ralph E. Powers » Jun 14, 2006 10:26 pm

Larry E. Matthews wrote:The TV had some beautiful, color photos of the upstream entrance to the cave and a shot just inside the downstream entrance. Very, very inviting photos. I just hope they don't encourage other people to sneak into the cave.
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Well isn't that what gates are for? Or does Snail Shell have a problem with debris. Though it's been nearly 30 years since I've been there I recall that it was relatively free of potential debris for the "downstream- entrance". The upstream one wouldn't be too much of a problem unless there's another entrance farther up...

I dunno... just wondering.

Love to see the entrance again if anyone has pics could they be so kind?
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Postby wendy » Jun 15, 2006 1:24 am

http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll ... 3/60614002

Rescuers: Missing Rutherford County cave explorers found

By SHELLEY MAYS

Published: Wednesday, 06/14/06
Two 18-year-old men who were lost in a Rutherford County cave overnight have been found, authorities said at a news conference.

The men were found about 30 minutes into the cave. They are hungry and cold and are being reunited with their families, authorities said.

Rescuers first found two cell phones and a glow stick inside a zip lock bag, suggesting the men might have been trying to mark their path.

Timoteo Hernandez, Jr., and Matthew Donald Corns, both 18, went into the Snail Shell Cave about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. Their friends called for help about 2:30 a.m. after the men did not return.

A search began about 4 a.m.

The "wild cave" is located on private property and is not intended for recreational use, said Randy White, spokesman for the Rutherford County EMS. The missing men were dropped off by friends at the location, then jumped a fence to get into the cave, authorities said.

The cave, which is 14 miles long and ranges from 5 to 80 feet deep, is frequently used to train rescue teams from around the midstate, White said.

Rescurers are concerned that the missing men could develop hypothermia because temperatures inside the cave are as low as 52 degrees.

For the latest news, log onto Tennessean.com.


Published: Wednesday, 06/14/06

photos: http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll ... s=Itemnr=1
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Postby Scott McCrea » Jun 15, 2006 5:49 am

I wonder if SCCi will press trespassing charges?
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Snail Shell Cave

Postby Larry E. Matthews » Jun 15, 2006 7:56 am

The main cave stream, which flows out one entrance at the bottom of a "karst window", then into another entrance, does flood every year. I've seen it with standing waves there is so much water. It would be totally impractical to try to gate it. Currently, there is a fence around the entrance and numerous "No Trespassing" signs.

The local Nashville newspaper, The Tennessean, had a nice article and photos this morning (Thursday, June 15, 2006) on Page 1B and 6B. there are more photos on line. Go to: Tennessean.com and type CAVE into the keyword search box.

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Re: Snail Shell Cave Rescue

Postby Tim White » Jun 15, 2006 9:17 am

Larry E. Matthews wrote:... I suspect Bob Biddix was in charge of the rescue, if I had to guess.


With no disrespect to Bob, but Rutherford County was “in chargeâ€
Last edited by Tim White on Jun 15, 2006 11:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Mike Cato » Jun 15, 2006 11:02 am

The big question is "did they damage anything?"

Why the "guerilla" style drop-off and assault method? Did they just want to see the cave or was there some vandalism?

Hope Bob takes a good look ASAP.
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Why the drop off?

Postby Larry E. Matthews » Jun 16, 2006 11:35 am

I think the parking area is on a well-traveled road. So if they left a car there, without the necessary permit on it, they would have been detected.

Therefore, by being "dropped off", there was no give-away vehicle in plain view.

Preserve manager, Bob Biddix, lives nearby, and the Sherrif's cars patrol that road, too.

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Postby innermostphoto » Jun 21, 2006 9:20 pm

Currently, the Snail Shell Cave Preserve does not contain a fence around the cave or property. There is however, a road gate connecting the main road to the Preserve property. On the sides of the gate are earthen and tree line barriers to prevent anyone from driving all the way to the cave. There are no plans to gate the cave itself.

My job as property manager is to maintain the property with respect to the cave and oversee activities within. Typically on every rescue I have ever participated, I end up in the cave with the IRT team or help with EVAC. Not this time as I had to restrain myself from doing so. Still I did enter the cave that morning somewhere around 3:30 or 4:00 to see if I could find any evidence of someone in the cave and again at 8:30 to direct search team 1 and 2 to begin their respective search route. Prior to that the first IRT team was sent in much earlier and the communications team confirmed their existence in the cave by finding their cell phones. There were 4 search teams. All lead by CAVERS with EMS folks with them.

There was no damage to the cave that I am aware. The “drop off “ method was used because it is widely known that should you park on the road either the Sheriffs Dept. or neighbors will dispatch a call to me.

I appreciate everyone’s interest in this unlikely event after all, it is property you paid for. The local Rutherford County EMS and Special Response Team headed by Adam Rose and Chris Clark could not have been any better. This was one of the most organized and professional rescues I have ever been a part of.

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Postby innermostphoto » Jun 22, 2006 9:54 pm

Some photos of the cave can be found at http://www.innermostimagery.com/scci/ssc/preserve.htm

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Postby Lava tuber » Jun 23, 2006 2:30 am

your photos rock!
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Postby nordicjw » Jun 23, 2006 9:16 am

Scott asked the question concerning trespassing charges. I don't know the criteria for trespassing there, but in New York State the way the property has been described as a gate and posted signs would meet the requirements of the law.

Seems as causing a rescue to be launched and the expense in time, resources and putting other lives at risk would figure into filing charges. I believe there was a case in NY where the judge went right to the hospital to hold court for trespassing in a cave. That might be a little extreme, but I'm sure the message was heard by others thinking of disregarding the posted signs.

If charges are filed I would hope the media would give that the same coverage as they did the rescue of those poor lost boys.
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