On Saturday February 26, approximately eight people obtained permission and signed a release to climb down into Flower Pot Cave located in Randolph County, West Virginia. Among the group was Thomas Malloy (42) of Prince Frederick, Maryland. To gain access to the cave the group tied a knotted rope around a nearby locust log and lowered themselves into the cave. None of the group was properly equipped for caving and only had bicycle lights and helmets. They did not have any ascending or descending equipment besides the knotted rope.
When Malloy attempted to exit the vertical entrance pit his hands slipped on the knotted rope causing him to fall approximately 20 feet.
Somehow the local rescue squad was notified and also members of the Tactical Skills team from Pendleton County, WV. The rescuers rigged the patient into a Stokes basket and raised Malloy from the cave by 7:30 p.m. He was then transported by the Randolph County Emergency Rescue Squad to a hospital in Elkins, WV.
Joan Ashley, The Inter-Mountain New, Elkins, WV, Feb 26, 1996, p 6.
Just another non-caver getting into too much cave. The myth that cavers use hand over hand vertical techniques seems to never go away. The patient was lucky to have only suffered the injuries that he did.