Cave Rescue, November 13, 1993
Bowden Cave, WV


At around noon on Saturday, November 13, a large group entered Bowden Cave in Randolph County, West Virginia. These were Boy Scouts and their adult trip leaders. They were engaged in a through-trip, from the Main Entrance to the third entrance, which normally takes two to three hours. After some time, they reached the "Pinch", about 500 feet from the third entrance. One of the adults was unable to fit through this, so another counselor, who knew the cave, volunteered to accompany him back to the Main Entrance.

The two headed back, but the leader was a diabetic and apparently began to suffer from low blood sugar. Becoming disoriented the two got into a maze-like side area. The leader realized they had lost the way and they sat down to wait for help. One fell asleep but the other could not -- the first was snoring too loudly.

The scouts meanwhile failed to find the third entrance and had to retrace their steps. They exited at 4:00 p.m. to find the other two missing. The authorities were called and apparently searched a bit without success. At 10:00 p.m. NCRC was called. The mobilized rescuers found the cave to be in high water conditions with a 3.5 foot standing wave in the 2-foot-wide by 6-foot-high entrance passage. The initial searches were not successful and the cavers were not found until 6:00 a.m. on Sunday. They were led from the cave without further incident.


NSS News, December 1994 (Part 2) V52N12, Page 403.

Alan Jackson "Bowden Rescue" Tite Times (Western Maryland Grotto, NSS) Dec, 1993 pp 2-3.

George Dasher "Rockin' Chair" The West Virginia Caver 11:6 Dec 1993 p 12.

Greg Springer "Bowden Cave Rescue" Ibid 12:5 Oct 1994 pp 5-6; also in D.C. Speleograph (D.C. Grotto, NSS) June 1995 pp 5-6.


No analysis was done of this rescue.