Eastern Region
of the
National Cave Rescue Commission
Providing Cave Rescue Training and Resource Coordination to
Delaware, New Jersey (southern), Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia

Cave Rescue, December 15, 1991

John Browns Cave


On Sunday, December 15, two teenagers entered John Brown Cave near Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. They had been in the cave several times before but were carrying only flashlights for light. They explored for a couple of hours and started out when their lights grew dim. When these failed they were left using their backup, a cigarette lighter. When this ran out of fuel they tried to continue using the striker but this gave insufficient light.

Another group was in the cave and soon encountered the mud-encrusted pair. They were a little shaken up but otherwise okay. They were given lights and led out of the cave.


NSS News, December 1992(Part 2) V50N12, Page 354

George Dasher "Rockin' Chair" The West Virginia Caver, (10)2, April, 1992, p 13.

Paul Gillis "John Browns Cave: to the End, Almost" D.C. Speleograph, (47) 11, December, 1991 p 5.


Always remember to have three sources of light that are adequate to get you out of a cave. Obviously from this report a lighter is not an adequate source of light. These individuals were lucky that another group ran across them so fast or they would have been in the cave for a much longer time.

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Eastern Region of the National Cave Rescue Commission