Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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June 5, 2014

Woman rescued after 8 hours in cave

SPEEDWELL, Va. — A 19-year-old woman trapped in a Wythe County cave for more than eight hours has been rescued.

A group of spelunkers entered a cave just south of the community of Speedwell Tuesday. The cavers were part of a summer camp from North Carolina taking part in a training exercise inside the popular cave, according to Jeremy Farley of the Wythe County Department of Public Information.

Later that afternoon, a 19-year old female found herself wedged in a narrow crevice inside the cave. Members of the group attempted to pull her free, but were unsuccessful in their efforts, according to a press release from Wythe County.

 At 3:32 p.m. the Wythe County E-911 Center received a call from members of the group requesting emergency assistance in rescuing the woman who was pinned between the crevices of two rocks.  Members of the Speedwell Volunteer Fire Department and Wythe County Rescue Squad were first on the scene followed by members of the Wythe County Emergency Management and Rural Retreat Emergency Services and Volunteer Fire Department.

 Members of the Black Diamond Search and Rescue unit, along with local first responders, were finally successful in freeing the woman from the cave late Tuesday night. She was airlifted from the scene to Bristol Regional Medical Center. There were no indications of critical injuries, the report said.

“It was very tight and damp inside,” Mike Davis, who served as commander of the rescue team on scene, said in the press release. “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.”

 According to Davis, the operation — which involved at least 10 different agencies — was one of the better coordinated rescue operations in which he had ever been a participant.

 “We had so many departments and agencies cooperating together,” Ikey Davidson, director of the Wythe County Emergency Management and incident commander, said. “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.”

 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, according to the report.

— Contact Charles Owens at cowens@bdtonline.com

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