Page 1 of 1

Ohio man rescued from southern Indiana cave

PostPosted: Sep 5, 2006 10:42 am
by Wayne Harrison
CORYDON, Ind. - Rescuers used rappelling equipment to free an Ohio man trapped inside a cave at a state forest, authorities said.

Ben Fortner, 21, of Dayton, suffered a small cut to his hand before he was found Sunday evening by state conservation officers and state forest personnel.

A man spelunking with Fortner alerted forest personnel that Fortner had become stuck in a 30-foot-deep pit inside the cave, conservation Officer Mark Farmer said. The cave is at Harrison-Crawford State Forest, about 30 miles west of Louisville, Ky.

Fortner was able to walk out of the cave after he was freed, and received minor treatment from medics.

No one in the group had the proper permit to enter the cave, Farmer said.

<a href="">Full Story</a>

PostPosted: Sep 5, 2006 11:49 am
by Phil Winkler
I think he had to cut off a hangnail from his right hand in order to release himself so he could walk out. What bravery!

Indiana cave rescue

PostPosted: Sep 5, 2006 2:10 pm
by Bill Putnam
According to the article in the Louisville Courier-Journal, the incident was at Langdon's Cave. The three individuals named in the article are not listed in the NSS Members Manual.

If any readers of this forum have more information on this incident, please contact me at

Bill Putnam
Editor, American Caving Accidents

Not DUG Members

PostPosted: Sep 5, 2006 2:55 pm
by Andy
None of the three people named in the article are current or former Dayton Underground Grotto members. I would like to contact them too and invite them to a grotto meeting.

Two of those names appear in the University of Dayton online student directory.

Andy Niekamp
DUG Membership
Dayton, Ohio

PostPosted: Sep 5, 2006 4:49 pm
by caverd
There was a small article in today's Evansville Courier (IN) regarding this rescue. It did not name the cave, but based on the scenario and general location, Langdon's was my guess. This cave is fairly well known and very easy to find (there's an elephant trail from the parking spot to the entrance and it's less than a five minute walk). Most of the cave can be done without vertical gear (although there is a tricky climbdown in the main passage). There are pits within the back portions of the cave. One is 38' and the other is the "Key Hole", a 25', 10', 25' series. Vistiors to the 2007 Convention may want to check out the cave.

Don't let the lack of proper permit comment trick you into believing there is any great oversight involved in the system. Anyone wanting to cave anywhere on state land in Indiana is required to fill out a cave permit. Once you fill out the form, you simply drop off one copy in a box and keep the other copy. The only place that I have seen any state employee review the form is at Spring Mill State Park (serious wet through trip cave among others within the park). Yes, they should have followed the rules but there wouldn't have been anyone checking out their credentials (and I'm not suggesting that there should be, just stating facts).

i am that caver

PostPosted: Oct 8, 2006 10:39 pm
by fortenbt
I believe my girlfriend sent you guys an email already, and I apologize for replying to a thread that's been idle for a month, but I was the caver in that story.

A few things to clear up:

We had a permit to be down there: this is a more accurate story ---> ... 1/60904020

We had gone down there about a month earlier with a very experienced caver and saw the two big pits (the keyhole) but did not have the proper equipment to get down there. We went back on that trip to explore the part we couldn't go down the first time. I went down first to make sure I could get back out; I couldn't, so I sent Zach out to get help.

I cut my finger trying to basically wedge myself into the side of the flow stone and the wall so I could shimmy up. The cut was very small and not even worth mentioning.

I don't know how familiar you are with the news, but they do hype things up a lot to make their stories more interesting. I was sitting at the bottom of the keyhole, just waiting for 2 and a half hours until they figured out the best way to get me out. They eventually had someone come down with ascending gear and let me use that.

If anyone wants more information, email me at fortenbt (at) notes (dot) udayton (dot) edu.

I might be interested in that dayton underground grotto club someone mentioned.

PostPosted: Oct 8, 2006 11:52 pm
by NZcaver
Hi Ben, welcome to the forum. :waving:

Thanks for clearing up the story. Funny how the first post in this thread quotes the media as saying "No one in the group had the proper permit to enter the cave, Farmer said." Then in your link "Fortner, Miller and Condit did have the proper permit to enter the cave, Farmer said..." Talk about not being able to get their story straight! Isn't the media great? :roll:

Anyway (cue the grotto-bot) - to find other cavers in your area check out...

Re: i am that caver

PostPosted: Oct 10, 2006 6:10 pm
by Mike Hood
fortenbt wrote:I might be interested in that dayton underground grotto club someone mentioned.

Hi Ben,

I'm the chairman of the Dayton Underground Grotto. Please feel free to come to our meetings. Our next meeting is Oct 15. You can find out more at :grin:

I'll also e-mail you direct.

Mike Hood

PostPosted: Oct 10, 2006 6:22 pm
by cavemanjonny
Wow, what a happy ending :-). This I think has been one of the more interesting threads I've followed on the internet. It isn't often where some random person is mentioned on the internet, then replies in person, then is gathered into the flock as it were. Pretty cool :kewl:.

PostPosted: Oct 11, 2006 8:28 am
by batrotter
jprouty wrote:It isn't often where some random person is mentioned on the internet, then replies in person

Actually it's not that uncommon at all. It's happens quite frequently on political sites. For example, you have a story posted about some unfortunate incident involving some truly reprehensible lowlife. Other people chime in and agree that the offender is a scumbag. Then a person that just signed up that day replies that they are this person or that they know this person and their family and what great people they are. This is known as a disruptor or a troll.

PostPosted: Oct 11, 2006 8:46 am
by cavemanjonny
batrotter wrote:This is known as a disruptor or a troll.

Sure, trolling happens all the time and the real people get involved in arguments about them all the time. I have simply never witnessed where someone comes and explains their side of the story and then gets invited (and accepts, afaik) to participate and learn from more experienced people. I didn't think anyone was baiting anyone else.