Warsaw man rescued in cave
A Warsaw, Ind., man was rescued from a cave in the Harrison-Crawford/Wyandotte Complex Sunday afternoon after he was unable to get back through a narrow passage.
Jeff Hamman, 28, and his friend, Richard Kurn, also 28, of Leesburg, had made their way about 150 feet in Mauck’s Cave when Hamman, who weighs 240 pounds, tried to squeeze through a small opening, said Indiana Conservation Officer Jim Hash.
Hamman “was able to work his way down, but then he couldn’t get back up,” Hash said.
Kuhn left the cave to call for help.
The wild cave – one of several on the state property that encompasses parts of Harrison and Crawford counties – has about a 10-foot drop at its entrance, Hash said, and is basically one-person wide throughout its 574-foot length.
Hash said the 911 call came about noon, and a cave rescue team of conservation officers was called.
“Initially, they thought they would need to use air chisels in order to get Hamman out, but they were able to use a hammer and chisel to enlarge the area for him to get out,” Hash said.
The process took 60 to 90 minutes, and Hamman was helped out of the cave about 4 p.m.
Hamman and Kuhn were treated at the scene for exposure, Hash said.
Fortunately, Hash said, the men had first registered at the forest office about 9 a.m. The regisration process is required.
“It’s really important to give information such as names, vehicle description and license plate number and the name of the cave intended to enter and what time you expect to return,” he said.
Hamman and Kuhn said they had been in Mauck’s Cave before, Hamman three times and Kuhn twice, Hash said, but they were “inexperienced” cavers.
The men had flashlights and a headlamp, but no extra food or water, and they were not wearing clothing more suitable for caving, Hash said.
Conservation officers and the cave rescue team were assisted by the Indiana State Police and volunteer firefighters from various fire departments in Harrison County.