At about 7 p.m. on Sunday, May 27, a group of three Robert Hutton (25), Paul Osterling (25), and Mark Thyram (23), entered the main entrance to Bowden Cave, Randolph County, West Virginia. They had no helmets and only three flashlights. They intended to do a crossover trip, exiting a particular back entrance of the cave. Though the group leader had been in the cave four or five times, he apparently had not heard that this particular entrance had been blocked by a large boulder for many years. Still, this ignorance was not crucial as the group was not able to find that entrance. Unfortunately, two lights failed and the last grew dim. They couldn't find their way back to the main entrance.
When they failed to return to their camp near Seneca Rocks the following morning, friends notified authorities in Elkins and public agencies as well as caver resources were mobilized.
Firemen and EMS personnel arrived first and two firemen plus a paramedic entered the main entrance at around 9 a.m. Cavers soon arrived and went in the higher entrance to sweep search back toward the main entrance. The three in the main entrance followed the main passage up and into the Water Passage. The three lost cavers were found in the maze beyond the Water Passage. Everyone was out by 11:10 a.m.
NSS News, December 1990 (Part 2) V4N13, Page 341-342.
George Dasher, "West Virginia Cave Rescues", The Region Record, 4(3), September 1990 (also from The West Virginia Caver, August 1990, 8(4) p. 11) p. 38.
No analysis has been done.