Blacksburg rescue squad helps save 5 trapped cavers


Six men went into a Southwest Virginia cave Friday night. Only one was able to scale the cave without rope and call 911. 

The Blacksburg Volunteer Rescue Squad answered the call. Now, all five men are out and thankful to be alive. 

The cavers were rescued after 47 hours of being trapped in Cyclops Cave in Russell County. Steep terrain added to the difficulty of the rescue. 

The Blacksburg squad brought 23 men and their cave rescue trailer. 

"It's a process but this is what we train for so there were no hiccups today," said Eric Stanley, cave rescuer. "Everything went really smoothly."

The cavers are now being treated at Bristol Regional Medical Center for symptoms of hypothermia.

The cave is on private property and the cavers did not have permission to be there. 

Blacksburg Vol. Rescue Squad
Blacksburg Vol. Rescue Squad

UPDATE 5:20 p.m.

A weary but thankful caver, one of five explorers stuck in a den in Russell County, Va., has been extracted.

NBC affiliate WCYB reports the man was brought down for medical treatment following hours of being trapped underground.

A basket is having to be brought in to hoist the next caver out of Cyclops Cave located near the town of Cleveland.

One caver was able to make his way out just after 2 a.m. Sunday and contact emergency help to come and get the five other individuals in the cave.


A rescue operation is underway to pull five trapped men out of a cave in Russell County, according to the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.

A group of six men went into the Cyclops Cave around 7 p.m. Friday but experienced exhaustion and hypothermia Saturday night, according to authorities.

One of the group members made it out of the cave at 2 a.m. Sunday and was able to call for help, authorities said. 

After the call for help, initial responders made contact with the other five men and provided blankets and water as crews prepare to free them from the cave, according to authorities.

Officials said while the men are said to be doing OK, the rescue could take up to 12 hours. 

20 members of the Blacksburg Volunteer Rescue Squad are assisting with the rescue.

Authorities said there is a large, vertical ledge between the outside of the cave and the men, and that rescuers will have to rappel down a hole and pull each man out individually.

About the Authors: