SPEEDWELL, Va. – A group of spelunkers entered a cave just south of the community of Speedwell, Tuesday morning. The cavers were part of a summer camp from North Carolina, taking part in a training exercise inside the popular cave.
Sometime that afternoon, a nineteen year old female found herself wedged in a narrow crevice inside the cave. Members of the group initially attempted to pull her free, but were unsuccessful in their efforts.
At 3:32 p.m. the Wythe County E-911 Center received a call from members of the group, requesting emergency assistance in rescuing one of the cavers pinned between the crevices of two rocks.
Members of the Speedwell Volunteer Fire Department and Wythe County Rescue were first on the scene, followed by Wythe County Emergency Management and Rural Retreat Emergency Services & Volunteer Fire Department.
Serving as commander inside the cave, Wythe County Rescue’s Mike Davis led a group to the trapped caver shortly upon arriving at the scene.
“It was very tight and damp inside. The patient was really calm and cooperative throughout the duration of the rescue; anything we asked her to do, she did it without any complaint,” said Davis.
According to Davis, the operation – which involved at least ten different agencies – was one of the better coordinated operations in which he had ever been a participant.
Ikey Davidson, Director of Wythe County Emergency Management and incident commander, agreed, echoing Davis’ sentiments.
“We had so many departments and agencies cooperating together. It was great to see all the people working toward the common goal of freeing this woman. We’re just glad that it ended well.”
Later that evening, members from Black Diamond Search & Rescue, a Virginia Department of Emergency Management rescue team arrived on the scene.
Members from Black Diamond Search & Rescue, along with local first responders, were finally successful in freeing the trapped woman around 7:30 p.m.
Though the nineteen year old female showed no signs of critical injuries, she was airlifted to Bristol as a precaution.
The underground network of caves south of the Cripple Creek stream has multiple entrances. Over the past several years, local emergency responders have been called to the cave on several occasions to rescue trapped or lost spelunkers.
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