I was out of town all last week and just learned last night of the horrible accident that happened at the Nutty Putty Caves, a local cave.
From what I have read, 26 year old John Jones was an experienced spelunker and a medical student in Virginia. He, along with several members of his family, was exploring the Nutty Putty Caves where he became stuck in an unmapped area of the caves. He became trapped, and although rescue crews tried to save him, they were unable to and he passed away on the 25th of November.
The caves have now become the final resting place of Jones, as officials are saying the attempt to retrieve his body is too dangerous. The area where he is has been sealed off, as well as the entrance to the caves.
The caves were discovered in 1960 and have had anywhere from 5,000-10,000 people a year visiting. Many people are clearly upset at the decision to close these caves permanently.
What seems so unreal to me is the fact that I have been there. There really were no rules back then, and a group of us college students went to explore one night. We got there in the dark, and the entrance is basically a hole in the ground, so we were randomly walking around a hill top looking for a hole. I only went the one time, so I am not familiar with the harder areas of the cave, since we more just randomly walked around it.
I cannot decide yet if I believe the permanent closing of the caves was a good idea, but I can say I am deeply sorry for this family. Jone’s wife is expecting their second child, and I cannot imagine the grief she must be going through right now. My deep condolences go out to this family.
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