Another Alabama rescue

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Moderator: Tim White

Postby Tim White » Dec 15, 2006 2:03 pm

This is what I know...

Two young men entered Viking Cave. The route they were taking has a 24 ft. climb down/drop, a 20 ft. down, a 40 ft. pit and a 29 ft. pit. One of the young men had explored the cave to the bottom of the 40 ft. before without incident. Neither had received any formal training nor were they affiliated with any caving group or grotto.

Both made their way into the cave and rappeled to the bottom of the 29 foot pit. Both climbed the 29 ft. drop using prusik knots. It was decided to use a different method to ascend the 40 ft pit. Young man number 1 (YM1) was successful in his attempt, but young man number 2 (YM2) became stranded on rope. After a failed attempt to assist friend, YM1 exited the cave and made a call for help.

Local rescue squads arriving on the scene, had one of their members that is also a member of the Huntsville Cave Rescue Unit (HCRU). Upon assessing the cave, this person requested that the HCRU be called in to assist. Huntsville responded and started working to access the patient. A haul system was set up at the top of the 40 ft. drop allowing the patient to be removed from the pit. Due to the tight fissure canyon nature of the cave, access was very difficult. The Chattanooga/Hamilton County (TN) Cave-Cliff Team (CHCRS) was requested by members of the HCRU. Due to a slight breakdown in communication CHCRS response was delayed. The HCRU and local team members worked to extract the patient from the tight cave. By the time members of the CHCRS arrived, the HCRU was well underway in the process of removing the patient. The patient was brought to the surface and airlifted to Huntsville Hospital where he was released a few days later.

That is it in a nut-shell. Exact details of how YM2 became stranded and the techniques that were employed to remove him from the cave are beyond my personal first-hand knowledge. The facts as I know them are from talking to member of responding teams, not from my personal experience on sight. I hope this brief report helps.
Be safe,
Tim White 26949 RL FE

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Postby Mike Cato » Apr 17, 2007 11:15 am

I know it's been a while since the rescue but I just read a great summary of the rescue from Sabrina Simon's blogspot. She was one of the folks small enough to make it to the patient. The story, titled "Endurance Caving" starts with her on a Fern Cave survey but morphs into the rescue within a few paragraphs. Very good read:
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