Cave Rescue, August 19, 1993
Whitings Neck Cave, WV


REPORT

A little afternoon on Tuesday, August 19, a large group entered Whitings Neck Cave in Berkeley County, West Virginia. There were 9 to 14 youths and 2 counselors, part of "Adventure Camp," a day camp program sponsored by the Howard County, Maryland, Department of Parks and Recreation. This program has made use of this cave in this manner for the past 15 years. The cave has two entrances and has both walking passage and crawlways.

After about an hour; one of the counselors began the group's exit splitting them up and taking five youths out the second entrance. He returned via this entrance but when he entered the Entrance Room, he found the passage blocked by a large rock and a quantity of dirt, with the rest of the group trapped inside. A "lot of screaming and yelling was coming from the other side." The counselor could see three helmets in the collapse and, thinking some of the youths had been hurt, he exited to send some of those waiting outside to get help.

A couple of youths ran half of a mile to the nearest telephone and called 911. The counselor took the rest and re-entered the cave via the main entrance and reached the others. He found that there had been no injuries. Various rescue groups responded but the spelunkers had in the meantime pushed the rock out of the way and dug through the dirt.


References

NSS News, December 1994 (Part 2) V52N12, Page 398.

George Dasher "The Summers Cave Rescues" The West Virginia Caver Oct 1993 p 15.

George Dasher "Whitings Neck Cave Rescue" Ibid 11:6 Dec 1993 pp 10-11.

Michael FitzPatrick, NSS Accident Report, 2 pp.

Kelli Shores "Between a rock and a hard place" The Journal (Martinsburg, WV) Aug 20, 1993 pp A1,A2.

Liz Thompson "Minor cave-in gives Md. youths brief scare" The Morning Herald (Hagerstown, MD) Aug 20, 1993 pp A1,A8.


Analysis

I guess once you start a through-trip, there is no turning back.