On the morning of Wednesday, July 29, a group of 13, ten novices led by Marshall Homes, Dave Goldman, and Eddie Burdette (42), entered Sharps Cave in Pocahontas County, West Virginia. This was reported to be a cave-for-pay group sponsored by Elk River Touring. The entrance is a small vertical squeeze (1.5 x 5 x 10 feet) and it is said it is tricky to fit through.
The entire group negotiated this, but upon entering the spacious main passage, Burdette was concerned about getting back out, so he and Goldman decided to exit while Homes took the novice group further into the cave. When Burdette tried the slot he couldn't make it and exhausted himself in the process. Goldman exited and, apparently on Burdette's suggestion, fetched a come-along and an additional caver, Gil Willis. Goldman reentered and put a harness on Burdette while Willis rigged the come-along to a tree. Using this they hoisted Burdette up the slot.
NSS News, December 1993 (Part 2) V51N12, Page 364.
George Dasher "Rockin' Chair" The West Virginia Caver 10:5 October 1992, p 11.
Marshall Homes NSS Accident Report undated, 2 pages.
Marhsall Homes "A Trip into Sharps" The West Virginia Caver 11:2 April 1993, p 17.
Apparently the root cause of this incident is that the victim was overweight and out of shape. Homes suggests they shouldn't have taken him into the cave.
A later note in the West Virginia Caver asserts that no aid was required by Burdette in exiting the cave. It this is true, where on earth did this story come from? I believe aid was required.