On Sunday, May 12, the James River Grotto was holding a vertical practice session at Ravens Roost in Virginia. The rappel in question used the highest anchor point and two experienced cavers descended with no problem. Kitty McGann (40) went next. She had been to two prior sessions and felt she knew enough to decline an offered bottom-belay.
At the edge her rack was giving too much fricion and she loosened two bars. At the same time she stumbled on the rope pads at the edge and went over the edge. The rack now gave almost no friction and she was in a near free-fall. She froze and did nothing to stop the fall. The victim struck a ledge partway down and then the bottom, a fall of over 100 feet. She suffered a broken foot and ankle, dislocated toes, three fractured vertebrae and bruised ribs and sternum. She was transported by foot, vehicle and helicopter to a hospital.
NSS News, December 1992 (Part 2) V50N12, Page 354.
Kitty McGann, NSS Accident Report, January 18, 1992.
No analysis has been done.