Seven visitors from out of state survived a harrowing ordeal this weekend after finding themselves trapped in a cave in the Sloan’s Valley area of Pulaski Co-unty.

According to Paul Coo-mer, Chief of the Pulaski County Rescue Squad, the group of 19-to-22-year-olds had ventured into the cave at around 11 a.m. Saturday through what is known as its “Green House” entrance — the 28-mile cave system has about 18 different entrances, said Coomer.

“They were going to come through another entrance, but they got stuck,” said Coomer.

The group had come down to visit the caves, which one in their party was reportedly familiar with. According to Coomer, the group had had another cave in mind when they entered the Green House cave after engaging in some rock climbing.

The seven spelunkers found themselves marooned on two islands surrounded by a 30-foot depth of water, an area 200 feet wide, according to Coomer. Though none of them suffered injuries, Coomer said hypothermia was a concern.

“When we got them out, they were cold, very wet, so we got them warm,” Coomer said. However, as far as their physical condition, “they were doing pretty good.”

One in the party managed to get out of the caves, emerging at about 4:30 in the afternoon, according to Coomer. He dialed 911 for help and rescuers arrived at the scene at about 8:30 p.m. Coomer said it took a team of 27 rescuers as many as 13 hours to get the other six cavers out and to safety.

To conduct the rescue operation, Coomer said a system of ropes and pulleys was set up to pull the trapped cavers across the top of the 200 feet of water. Coomer estimated the visitors had gone about three-quarters of a mile back into the cave.

Coomer said the rescued group was treated at the scene by Somerset-Pulaski County Fire-EMS and were not taken to the hospital.

Recommended for you