Cave Rescue Incidents and Accidents


Reports listed herein have all happened within the Eastern Region of the NCRC. This area includes the following states: West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, Delaware, North Carolina and the District of Columbia. Each report is broken up into three categories: The actual report of the accident/incident, reference and an analysis of the event.

A significant number of these reports have been taken verbatim from the National Speleological Society's annual reports of American Caving Accidents. Most of these reports are the work of Steve Knutson, the long time editor of the NSS American Caving Accidents reports. We wish to thank him for his long term efforts in cave rescue.

There is also a large number of reports that have been taken from grotto newsletters and other sources. Where applicable there is a reference made to the source of the report.

The purpose of these reports is to educate cavers of the dangers involved in caving and to maybe prevent future accidents and incidents. Please read these incidents and take notes. Remember what you learn today may prevent you from having an accident or even a fatality tomorrow.

As of Feburary 2005, 188 of 350 reports are available online. This figure is only for those that have been indexed within this system. Currently we estimate that there have been approximately 500 incidents/accidents within the Eastern Region since records have been kept.

Douglas Moore worked hard on comprising this inforamtion when he was the Easter Region coordinator/webmaster from 1997-2005.

Select a year to jump to:

50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59
60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69
70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79
80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89
90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99

00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09


May 26, Carpenters Cave, PA


January, Cass Cave, WV


February 25, Overholts Blowing Cave, WV

May 28, Breathing Cave, VA (BODY RECOVERY)

July 9, Carnegie Cave, PA (Fire) (BODY RECOVERY)

July 26, Stauton Quarry Cave, VA (Bad Air) (BODY RECOVERY x 2)

November 23, Cass Cave, WV


March 16, Cass Cave, WV (Vertical problem, C)

March 16, Elkhorn Mountain Cave, WV (Vertical problem, C)

October 21, Wind (Cold) Cave, PA (Entrapment, C)


March 7, Cass Cave, WV (Vertical problem, C)

May 25, Big Ridge Cave, PA (Fall, NC)

December 7, Schofer Cave, PA (Fall, NC)


March 7, Cassell Cave, WV

April 27, The Hole, WV

July 12, Overholts Blowing Cave, WV

October 24, Organ Cave, WV


May 23, Unnamed Pit, WV

August, Organ Cave, WV


January 15, Arm Pit Cave, PA

July 16, Walt Allen Cave, WV

May 28, Hellhole Cave, WV

December 3, Moyers Twin Wells, WV


February 17, Crabtree Cave, WV

February, Elkhorn Mountain Cave, WV

April 16, Hellhole Cave, WV

April 21, Organ Cave, WV

November 3, J-4 Cave, PA

December 8, Organ Cave, WV


Unknown, Laurel Caverns, PA

January 25, Canterbury Cave, WV

February 20, J-4 Cave, PA

June 23, Hosterman's Pit, PA

October 19, Sinnitt-Thorn Mountain Cave, WV

October 20, Hellhole Cave, WV

December 22, Lewis Cave, WV


J anuary 30, Organ Cave, WV

February 9, Bowden Cave, WV

May 11, Dig Spring, WV


July 1, Barnes Pit, WV (BODY RECOVERY)

July 13, John Brown's Cave, WV

July 19, Norman's Cave, WV

August, Twiggs Cave, MD

August 30, Snedegar-Crookshank Cave, WV

September 13, Beacon Cave, WV

November 8, Nutt Cave, WV

November 29, Schoolhouse Cave, WV

Unknown, Bowden Cave, WV


May 8, Rubber Chicken Cave, WV

June 13, Crookshank Cave, WV

June 25, Cornwell Cave, WV

July 4, Crookshank Cave, WV

July 19, Crabtree Cave, MD

August 7, Crookshank Cave, WV

August 29, Cass Cave, WV

September, Miller's Cave, VA

October 28, Cass Cave, WV

November 13, Rubber Chicken Cave, WV


May 23, Sheepman's Cave, MD

Summer, McClure's Cave, PA

July 9, Organ Cave, WV

July 30, My Cave, WV (BODY RECOVERY)

July 31, Canadian Hole, WV

August 28, Cass Cave, WV (BODY RECOVERY)

October 14, Twiggs Cave, MD


March 25, Nutt Cave, WV

May 28, Sites Cave, WV

July 3, Canadian Hole, WV (BODY RECOVERY)

September, Bowden Cave, WV


March 10, Pig Hole Cave, VA

May 9, New River Cave, VA

June, Schoolhouse Cave, WV

July 20, Hellhole Cave, WV

October 27, Organ Cave, WV

November 17, Whitings Neck Cave, WV

December 1, Pig Hole, WV


January 18, New River Cave, VA

March 9, Carpenters Pit, WV

May 10, Sinnitt Cave, WV

July 19, Sinnitt Cave, WV

Ocotober 11, Endless Caverns, VA


March 8, I-81 Cave, VA

March 16, Patton Cave, WV

April 25, Clover Hollow Cave, WV

May 16, Nutt Cave, WV

June 14, Robins Rift, WV

July 12, Hellhole Cave, WV

August 12, Big Springs Cave, WV

October 10, Lostworld Caverns, WV

December 12, Clover Hollow Cave, VA


January 24, Just Cave, WV

January 30, Patton Cave, WV

March 26, Haynes Cave, WV

March 27, Crooked Swamp Cave, NJ (BODY RECOVERY)

April 17, Buddy Penleys Cave, VA

Spring, Paul Penleys Cave, VA

June 12, Laurel Creek Cave, WV

August 14, Organ Cave, WV

October 3, Culverson Creek Cave, WV

October 4, Organ Cave, WV

October 10, Canadian Hole, WV

November 13, Friars Hole Cave System, WV

November 28, Harmons Waterfall Cave, WV


January 8, Lemon Hole Cave, PA

January 9, Bear Cave, PA

March 5, Simmons-Mingo Cave, WV

March 6, Butler Cave, VA

March 12, Devils Den, VA

March 19, W.V. Cave, WV

March 24, Blessington Mountain Wells, PA

May 14, Death Pit, WV

June 29, Hellhole Cave, WV

October 2, Driebelibis Cave, PA (BODY RECOVERY)

November 12, Organ Cave, WV

November 12, Whitings Neck Cave, WV

November 26, Swago Pit, WV


January 15, Rocky Hollow Cave, VA

Feburary 4, Hosterman's Pit, PA

March, J-4 Cave, PA

April 14, Clover Hollow Cave, VA

May 27, McClungs Cave, WV

June 17, Molers Cave, WV

July, Hellhole Cave, WV

July 20, Hellhole Cave, WV

September, Harlansburg Cave, PA

September 1, F.T.A. Cave, WV

October 31, Paul Penleys Cave, VA

November 2, Nutt Cave, WV

November 5, Breathing Cave, VA

November 10, Laurel Caverns, PA

November 19, Sharers Cave, PA

December 1, Cass Cave, WV (BODY RECOVERY)

December 23, Acme #5 Cave, WV


February 24, Bowden Cave, WV

May, Norman Cave, WV

August 24, Simmons-Mingo Cave, WV

September 21, Cricket Cave, WV

Fall, Leigh Cave, NJ

October 13, Newcastle Murder Hole, VA

October 19, W.V's Cave, WV

October 20, Acme Quarry Cave, WV

October 25, Organ Cave, WV

November 28, Culverson Creek Cave, WV (BODY RECOVERY)


January 18, Breathing Cave, VA

February 16, Bowden Cave, WV

March 6, Clover Hollow Cave, VA

March 30, Cassell Cave, WV

April 25, Melville's Mudhole Cave, PA

July 19, Breathing Cave, VA

August 23, Stumpbottom Cave, VA

September 13, McClung's Cave, WV

September 28, Arritt Mill Tunnel, VA

November 1, Carpenter-Swago Cave System, WV

November 15, Molers Cave, WV

November 22, Scott Hollow Cave, WV

December 6, Scott Hollow Cave, WV

December 28, Rehoboth Church Cave, WV


January 10, Rocky Hollow Cave, VA

Winter, Massanutten Caverns, VA

February 13, Cave in the Canoe Creek Mine, PA

May 23, Lowe Cave, VA

May 23, Ludington's Cave, WV

May 24, Lowe Cave, VA

May 24, Butler Cave, VA

July 19, Unnamed Pit, VA

August 13, Bowden Cave, WV

September 8, Unnamed Pit, WV


February 7, New River Cave, VA

March 5, Porters Cave, VA

March 6, Scott Hollow Cave, WV

June 12, Scott Hollow Cave, WV

June 18, Arch Spring Cave, PA (BODY RECOVERY)

Summer, Cass Cave, WV

July 10, Grapevine Cave, WV

July 23, Stevens Farm Cave, WV

September 24, Pig Hole, VA (BODY RECOVERY)


February 11, Paxton's Cave, VA

February 11, Scott Hollow Cave, WV

March 11, Rimstone Falls Cave, WV

July 15, Rehoboth Church Cave, WV

July 23, My Cave, WV (BODY RECOVERY)

August 26, Sharer's Cave, PA

August 27, Ludington's Cave, WV

November 18, Clarks Cave, VA


March 15, John Browns Cave, WV

April 8, Bear Cave, PA

May 26, Laurel Caverns, PA

May 27, Devil's Kitchen, WV

May 27, Bowden Cave, WV

June 18, New Trout Cave, WV

August 2, Unnamed Cave, VA

Fall, Organ Cave, WV

November 10, Bone-Norman Cave, WV

December, Clover Hollow Cave, VA


Winter, Wildcat Cave, WV

January, Cave Mountain Cave, WV

February, Old Mill Cave, VA

March 23, J-4 Cave, PA

April 27, Organ Cave, WV

May 12, Raven's Roost, VA (Practice Session)

Spring, Beacon Cave, WV

Spring, Burnside Branch Cave, WV

May 25, Bone/Norman Cave, WV

July 6, Hosterman's Pit, PA

July 29, Ruth Cave, PA

August 4, Lawrence Domepit, WV

August 17, Big Ridge Cave, PA

September, Roadside Pit, WV

September 15, McFerrin Breakdown Cave, WV

December 15, John Brown Cave, WV

December 28, Harper's Pit, WV


January, Smith Cave, PA

January, New Paris Sinks, PA

Spring, J-4, PA

Spring, Con Cave, PA

May 16, Marhsall's Cave, VA

May 25, Brammer Cave, WV

May 31, Con Cave, PA

Summer, Long-Cock Cave, PA

June, Killiansburg Cave, WV

July 4, J-4 Cave, PA

July 22, Carol's Crack, WV

July 29, Sharps Cave, WV

August 22, Lost World Cave, WV

September 4, Sites Cave, WV

September, J-4 Cave, PA

October 26, Portal Cave, WV

November 14, Fletchers Cave, WV

December 18, Organ Cave, WV

December 19, Red Bridge Cave, PA

December 19, Schofer's Cave, PA


February 6, J-4 Cave, PA

February 13, J-4 Cave, PA

February 13, Laural Caverns, PA

February 28, Greises Cave, MD

April 3, Sharps Cave, WV

April 24, New Sinkhole, NJ (BODY RECOVERY)

June 26, Crossroads Cave, VA

Summer, Bowden Cave, WV

July 3, Marshalls Cave, VA

July 11, Laural Caverns, PA

July 24, Organ Cave, WV

July 31, Porters Cave, VA

July 31, Bone-Norman Cave, WV

August 7, Scott Hollow Cave, WV

August 19, Whitings Neck Cave, WV

September 18, New River Cave, VA

November 4, New Trout Cave, WV

November 13, Bowden Cave, WV


March 21, Sinnet Thorn Mountain Cave, WV (ACA)

March, Bowden Cave, WV (ACA)

April 1, Unnamed Sinkhole, MD (ACA)

April 27, Norman Cave, WV (ACA)

May 5, Norman Cave, WV (ACA)

June 12, Laurel Caverns, PA (ACA)

July 17, Bakerton Limeston Quarry, WV (ACA) (FATALITY)

August 6, J-4 Cave, PA (ACA)

September 4, Cass Cave, WV (ACA)

September 10, Laurel Caverns, PA

September 10, Bowden Cave, WV

September 11, New Trout Cave, WV

October 15, Greenville Saltpeter Cave, WV

October 15, Turkey Cave, VA (ACA)

December 17, Cass Cave, WV (ACA)


January, Barberry Cave, VA

June 21, Bowden Cave, WV

June 22, Bowden Cave, WV

June 22, Bowden Cave, WV

August, Rehobeth Church Cave, WV

August, Laurel Caverns, PA

September 3, Owl Cave, VA

September, Scott Hollow Cave, VA

October 21, Hancock Cave, VA

November 25, Laurel Caverns, PA

Winter, Pig Hole Cave, VA


February 24, Flower Pot Cave, WV

June 27, Bowden Cave, WV

July 4, Laurel Caverns, PA

July 7, Lockridge Aqua Cave, VA

October 19, Cave Mountain Cave, WV

October 25, Laurel Caverns, PA

October 25, Missing Person Search, Mannassas, VA

October 29, Carpenters Swago Pit, WV


January, Beacon Cave, WV

March 8, New River Cave, VA (FATALITY)

May 31, McClungs Cave, WV

Summer, Bowden Cave, WV

Summer, Cassell Cave, WV

Summer, Bath County, VA

Summer, Trout Rock Cave, WV

July 12, James River Cave, VA

July 13, Hell Hole Cave, WV (Caver Fall)

July 16, Laurel Caverns, PA


February 14, My Cave, WV (Caver Fall)

June 5, J-4 Cave, PA

July ??, Trout Rock Caves, WV (Fall)

July 11, Bartons Cave, PA (Inexperience, Fall)

July 18, Key Hole Cave, NY (Caver Stuck)

September, Sharps Cave, WV (Caver Fall)

September, Sharps Cave, WV (Caver Stuck)

September, Sharps Cave, WV (Caver Fall)

September, Bowden Cave, WV (Inexperience, Lost)

October 3, J-4 Cave, PA (Caver Fall)

October 5, Cassell Cave, WV (Inexperience, Vertical)

October 12, Bowden Cave, WV (Inexperience, Lost)

October 25, Whitings Neck Cave, WV (Caver Fall)

October 30, J-4 Cave, PA (Caver Fall)

November 5, 3-D Maze Cave, VA (Caver Fall)


January 23-25, Hurricane Ridge Cave, WV (Water Entrapment)

February 13, Organ Cave, WV (lost)

April 21, New River Cave, VA (lost)

May 15, Allegheny Blowhole, VA (caver fall)

July 4, Bowden Cave, WV (caver fall)

July 31, Bowden Cave, WV (lost)

November 12, J-4 Cave, PA (Caver Fall)

November 20, Cave Mountain Cave, WV (caverfall)

December 12, Marshalls Cave, VA (caverfall)


March, 11 Cass Cave, WV (flood entrapment)

March 15, J4 Cave, PA (caver fall)

March 16, Birds Drop, VA (fatality)

March 24, Doe Mountain Cave, VA (caver fall)

June 27, Fieldhouse Cave, WV (caverfall)

July 1, Big Springs Cave, WV (caverfall)

July 4, Greenville Saltpeter Cave, WV (caverfall)

July 9, Steeles Cave, WV (calf rescue)

August 12, Clarks Cave, VA (caverfall)

August, Duffield Cave, PA, (entrapment)


April 7, Bowden Cave, WV (caver fall)

June 23, Carpenters Swago Cave, (lost)

July 4, unnamed cave, PA (fatality)

July 28, Bowden Cave, WV (flood entrapment)

September 1, Cass Cave, WV (inadequate equipment)

September 1, My Cave, WV (inadequate equipment)

September 3, Trout Cave, WV (lost cavers)

September 3, Shreve Howell Pit, WV (inadequate equipment)

September 9, John Browns Cave, WV (lost)

October 20, Bowden Cave, WV (fatality, medical)


March 17, Bowden Cave, WV (caver fall)

April 7, Bowden Cave, WV (lost)

April 19, Carpenters Swago Cave, WV (caver fall)

April 20, Cassell Cave, WV (caver fall)

May 12, Trout Cave, WV (medical)

August 25, Casparis Cave, PA (lost)

September 21, Cassell Cave, WV (caver fall)

October 1, Maxwellton Sink Cave, WV (stuck caver)


March 29, Womer Cave, PA (rock fall)

April 26, Laurel Caverns, PA (caver fall)

August 19, Bear Cave, PA (lost)

September 27, Omega Cave System, VA (fatality)

September 27, Nellies Cave, VA (cave fall)

October 25, Bear Cave, PA (lost)


Spring, Lynx Cave, VA (Stuck caver)


February 19, Breathing Cave, VA (caver Fall)