Simmons-Mingo

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Simmons-Mingo

Postby Tim White » Apr 24, 2007 8:52 am

I saw a report of a rescue in Simmons-Mingo Cave in West Virginia on Saturday/Sunday. It appears that a group of 5 students from PA became lost while exploring the cave. They were located around 11AM Sunday, about 2000 feet from the main entrance. There were two reports of mild hypothermia along with a 21 year old female who sustained bruised knees and possible broken ribs after falling. She was carried out of the cave around 3:30 and air-lifter to the hospital by helicopter.

Local rescue units along with the assistance of 30 cavers preformed a smooth rescue.

A link to a news report can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/397p5r
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Postby driggs » Apr 24, 2007 11:44 am

Updated news story from the same Harrisburg TV station, with video of cavers and rescuers: http://tinyurl.com/2ykqwr

Thanks to everyone who responded and worked hard to make this a very successful rescue! :kewl:
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Postby George Dasher » Apr 25, 2007 9:13 am

Here is what was in the Charleston Gazette today...

The quality is not real good....

Image
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Postby Crash Kennedy » Apr 25, 2007 9:50 am

For some reason the on-line version of the 25 April Charleston Gazette doesn't have the article George just scanned and posted, but here are some other news links to the story.

-- Crash

More on the Simmons-Mingo rescue:
http://www.whptv.com/news/local/story.a ... 978753585c
http://www.pennlive.com/printer/printer ... topstories
http://www.pennlive.com/patriotnews/sto ... xml&coll=1
http://www.phillyburbs.com/pb-dyn/news/ ... 35630.html
http://www.dailymail.com/story/News/200 ... te-briefs/
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Postby NZcaver » Apr 25, 2007 9:24 pm

GENARO C. ARMAS - Associated Press
Members of the National Cave Rescue Commission arrived from West Virginia and four other states, and state police, the Red Cross and the Salvation Army were also on scene. Rescuers used wired radios to stay in contact.

Interesting... last time I checked, the NCRC wasn't a membership organization. And wired radios were called "phones" :laughing:

Not a bad write-up overall, though. At least this story had a happy ending. :kewl:
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Postby wendy » Apr 26, 2007 1:16 am

NZcaver wrote:
GENARO C. ARMAS - Associated Press
Members of the National Cave Rescue Commission arrived from West Virginia and four other states, and state police, the Red Cross and the Salvation Army were also on scene. Rescuers used wired radios to stay in contact.

Interesting... last time I checked, the NCRC wasn't a membership organization. And wired radios were called "phones" :laughing:

Not a bad write-up overall, though. At least this story had a happy ending. :kewl:


I think the wired radios they refer to are the old army surplus field phones used in cave rescues
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Postby NZcaver » Apr 26, 2007 2:05 am

wendy wrote:I think the wired radios they refer to are the old army surplus field phones used in cave rescues

You think? :wink:
Last edited by NZcaver on Apr 26, 2007 7:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby wendy » Apr 26, 2007 12:04 pm

NZcaver wrote:
wendy wrote:I think the wired radios they refer to are the old army surplus field phones used in cave rescues

You think? :wink:


ok sorry for stating the obvious, it was 2am, and i thought i was being helpful, i'll know better next time
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Postby George Dasher » Apr 26, 2007 1:09 pm

What I don't understand is that the first rescuers went into the cave at 11:15 pm on Saturday (according to the news' articles), and yet the "big" call-out happened on Monday morning.

Am I missing something? What happened between Saturday night and Monday morning?

My guess is that the first rescuers went into the cave at 11:15 pm on Sunday, and that the lost cavers had already been sitting for about 24 hours.

A car sitting at the cave entrance late on Sat night won't have seemed that out-of-place to a landowner; but a car still sitting there on Sun would have been very unusual.
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Postby Brian Masney » Apr 26, 2007 6:11 pm

George Dasher wrote:What I don't understand is that the first rescuers went into the cave at 11:15 pm on Saturday (according to the news' articles), and yet the "big" call-out happened on Monday morning.

Am I missing something? What happened between Saturday night and Monday morning?

My guess is that the first rescuers went into the cave at 11:15 pm on Sunday, and that the lost cavers had already been sitting for about 24 hours.


A few of us from Morgantown went to the rescue early Monday morning. We were told that the second group from Harrisburg, PA went in there on Sunday night.

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Postby driggs » Apr 26, 2007 9:17 pm

George Dasher wrote:What I don't understand is that the first rescuers went into the cave at 11:15 pm on Saturday (according to the news' articles), and yet the "big" call-out happened on Monday morning.


I was told (by a member of the rescued group) that the first rescuers were caving friends/relatives from PA who drove down when the families realized that the group was still in cave. This two-man group went in the Zarathusa Entrance around 2AM (before the NCRC callout), and did a full through trip - meeting up with the organized cavers around 10:30am, just after the lost group had been found, near the Historic Entrance. These two guys looked absolutely beat by Monday afternoon, and had obviously put forth a serious effort of their own.
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Postby Stridergdm » Apr 26, 2007 11:20 pm

Hmm... couple of comments.

As NZCaver was coyly trying to say, there was no "NCRC" call-out nor "members of the NCRC" there. (Well most likely not).

The NCRC is a TRAINING and resource organization only. The only "members" are the Regional and other Coordinators. (so, technically a Regional Coordinator (or the Medical, Training, or Diving) COULD have been there, but it wasn't the "NCRC" that was called per se.

The NCRC provides training, and when need be points people to available resources, including where possible local cave rescue groups.


That aside....

Sounds like a late call-out. It's fortunate the rescued party was not seriously injured. But I think this is a great example (because everyone came out alive and in one piece) where a firm "out by now" call should have been set up, and local cavers alerted much sooner. If the two friends had gotten hurt, stuck or lost themselves, this could have turned into a much more complicated rescue.

In general, I think a lot of cavers are too worried about being embarrassed or something if they have to be rescued. So they delay, they rely on their buddies, etc.

And most times, this works out just fine. And really, who wants to be the talk of the next grotto meeting? "Hey, you hear about Joe? he got lost in Mystery Pit... can you believe it?"

But, honestly, if you've ever thought that, think about the alternative.

"Hey you hear about Joe? He got lost in Mystery Pit and after waiting 12 hours for a call-out, he got hypothermic, wandered over to the top of the pit and did a 9.8m/s^2 descent. Poor guy."

THAT aside....

As I mentioned, the NCRC is a training organization. And funny enough.... there's a weeklong training event coming up in about 2 months. Lots of fun and lots to learn!

Highly recommended for everyone. And if you can't make that, try to make it to a 2-day OCR (Orientation to Cave Rescue) in your local area. Even if you never participate in a rescue, you'll probably learn to be a safer caver.

Anyway... still glad to hear everyone made it out in one piece and relatively unharmed.
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Postby George Dasher » Apr 27, 2007 10:11 am

Dave and Brian: THANKS!!

More questions: A local rescue group went into the cave either Sat or Sun night. This is the group who turned around at a tight spot. Did they go in on Sat or Sun? If they went in on Sat, then there was a hella of a wait until the next group went in.

Then a two-man group from PA went in the Zarathusa Entrance around 2AM and did a through trip.

Then a major influx of cavers showed up on Monday morning. This was the group that found the lost cavers. I presume that both of you were in this "influx." (I did not respond, because I had a twice-canceled meeting in Charles Town I felt I had been attend.)

And who called the rescue? The landowner?

Is my understanding correct? I'm working on an a short article for The West Virginia Caver.

And how many caving groups responded? And from what areas? One of the news articles said that cavers responded from a four-state area. That's a lot of states.
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Postby Squirrel Bait » May 3, 2007 5:16 pm

All went well exept for the collie dog who ran much deeper chasing underware gnomes. "Classy" :tonguecheek:
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Postby icave » May 4, 2007 8:34 am

I heard a rumor that two of those rescued were from Nittany Grotto. Any truth to that?
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