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How do they rescue cavers?

Discussion of medical or rescue topics related to climbing and mountaineering.
 

Re: How do they rescue cavers?

Postby MoapaPk » Mon Nov 29, 2010 11:24 pm

KristoriaBlack wrote:What's the president? Is it possible to get an injured caver out of a cave, or are you pretty much screwed should anything happen?


I'm not a caver, but many of my friends were, and I recall they participated in rescues; this one comes to mind.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7I7bXcSWK8

There are reasons cavers don't go alone, carry a lot of emergency stuff, and are very careful.
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Re: How do they rescue cavers?

Postby JHH60 » Mon Nov 29, 2010 11:42 pm

The US National Speleological Society has an active cave rescue section and offers training in cave rescue through the National Cave Rescue Commission. If you're interested, you can find out more here:

http://www.caves.org/commission/ncrc/national/

While I was a member of the National Speleological Society for many years, almost all of my caving was cave diving, where gravity isn't working so hard against you. There, your rescue options are usually limited to doing one of the following:

1) share air with victim who has lost his air supply
2) provide light to victim whose lights have failed
3) assist victim in sorting out other gear and/or entanglement problems
4) guide/tow an incapacitated victim towards exit (e.g., because diver is using a scooter which has failed, though sometimes because diver has lost their mask, is narced, or otherwise unresponsive)

and finally, if these don't work

5) inform sheriff's dept. of the death of the victim and, if needed, call the local recovery team.
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Re: How do they rescue cavers?

Postby lcarreau » Tue Nov 30, 2010 1:31 am

Kristoria? What happened to all your pictures ???
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Re: How do they rescue cavers?

Postby MoapaPk » Tue Nov 30, 2010 3:36 am

Huh, someone must have thought you (KB) were an avatar for Toxo. Maybe I'm naive, but that didn't look probable... was it? The differences in grammar would take a clever faker.

I thought you were just being quiet. I don't recall any scuffle, but I follow off-route only when we need the eggs.
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Re: How do they rescue cavers?

Postby mrchad9 » Tue Nov 30, 2010 4:07 am

hmm....
Last edited by mrchad9 on Thu Sep 15, 2011 7:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How do they rescue cavers?

Postby Sierra Ledge Rat » Fri Dec 03, 2010 3:13 am

Cave rescue if extremely difficult. It can take several days to get an injured person out of a cave. I am an active caver and have been through some formal cave rescue training. Oh, yeah, I was a member of the Niagara Frontier Grotto (Rochester, NY) of the National Speleological Society from 1998 through 2001. Before that I was a member of Sandia Grotto in Albuquerque, and since 2001 I have been caving around the world and in the Appalachain Mountains from West Virginia all the way down to Georgia.

Clearly, the first choice is self-rescue.

If a self-rescue is not possible, then cavers call out the rescue team. Many of these people have been through formal cave rescue courses. A rescue litter, thermal protection and medical equipment are carried into the cave, along with whatever technical equipment is needed.

Once the immediate medical needs are addressed, the patient is "packaged" in the litter. This "packaging" usually includes a very warm sleeping bag, helmet, goggles, and a waterproof outer barrier wrapper. Warm IV fluids can be administered if necessary. A urinary catheter may be needed as well.

Then begins the long and arduous task of removing the patient from the cave. Moving a litter through a cave is extremely difficult, and takes a team of 30 or more people. In open passageways, the litter is carried. In tighter passageways, the litter is dragged. Sometimes cavers lie down in holes in the floor so that the litter can be dragged over them so the litter doesn't get caught or doesn't fall into the hole.

When crossing canyons, sometime a Tyrolean traverse must be rigged. This can take many, many hours to rig, and many hours to transport the patient across.

Vertical sections require that the litter be hauled up or lowered down the pitches. You can imagine all of the ropes and hardware that would necessary to move a rescue litter and a team of 30 people over technical ground.

It should be obvious to you by now that a severely injured person will probably die unless he/she is close to the cave entrance and the terrain is not too technical. Evacuations can take several days. Most successful cave rescues involve simpled injuries like femur fractures or non-life threatening spinal fractures.

My caving first-aid kit is: (a) bivouac equipment and (b) duct tape. If you can't get out of the cave with a duct-tape fix, then you're gonna need to bivouac until help arrives. I always carry at least one carbide lamp for a heat source, a 24-hour supply of carbide, an insulated pad to sit on, and a space blanket to contain the heat from the carbide lamp.

Image
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Re: How do they rescue cavers?

Postby edl » Fri Dec 03, 2010 5:04 am

I can't add much to anything to what SLR said, but here's a good video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7I7bXcSWK8
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Re: How do they rescue cavers?

Postby dmiki » Fri Dec 03, 2010 8:48 am

KristoriaBlack wrote:would they attempt to maneuver a stretcher through that? Can you comment on how you would actually do that?


Sometimes they could be forced to blow up some rock if there is no other way.

Sometimes they need to wait several days, feeding a hypothermic/exhausted person to strengthen them up for a particular section.
Or on the contrary, maybe wait several days for the person to lose some weight(?)
Or wait several hours near the surface for them to get prepared for the outside.
Also the psychology is important: what information you tell the injured person and when (for instance if several people were involved in an accident and maybe some of the group did not survive).

Try reading for instance about the 1996 accident/rescue from the Gouffre Berger in France.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gouffre_Berger

AUTRANS, France -- The third survivor of a cave-exploring team emerged yesterday after being trapped for six days in one of Europe's deepest grottos. More than 100 rescue workers took part in helping Zsolt Nemeth, 29, of Hungary make it to the surface after flash flooding of the Berger cave killed two of his companions and stranded the rest of the six-member team. The bodies of a British woman and Hungarian man remained deep in the cave, as did Miklos Nyerges, also 29, the final survivor who was expected to be helped out of the cave today. Like his two companions who emerged Friday, Mr. Nemeth suffered from exhaustion and hypothermia, and was taken by helicopter to a hospital in the French Alps city of Grenoble. Mr. Nyerges progressed yesterday from some 900 yards below the surface to a base camp about 540 yards deep in the cave, about 75 miles southeast of Paris. The cave descends to a depth of 3,686 feet. "His spirits are high, but he still doesn't know of the young woman in the team," said rescue team leader Albert Oyhancabal. Mr. Nyerges is hurt in one foot and has trouble walking, he said. The group had been trapped for a week by underground floods caused by heavy rains and a freak summer snowstorm. The bodies of the two dead spelunkers -- Nicola Perrin, 31, of Britain and Istvan Torda, 25, of Hungary, who were killed Wednesday -- will not be brought to the surface until the end of the rescue operation, officials said. (SouthCoastToday.com 1996)
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Re: How do they rescue cavers?

Postby dmiki » Fri Dec 03, 2010 8:53 am

Some more info:

The Hungarian Cave Rescue Service
http://www.caverescue.hu/english.html

Some pictures of training/rescues (some of the links are broken)
http://www.caverescue.hu/gallery.html

Unfortunately the rescue and accident reports are only available in Hungarian. (Maybe Google translate?)

http://www.caverescue.hu/konferencia_gb/conference.html
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Re: How do they rescue cavers?

Postby Sierra Ledge Rat » Fri Dec 03, 2010 8:57 am

KristoriaBlack wrote:Thank you so very much SLR for your detailed reply. I appreciate that so much.

I am wondering, the caves I was in had a lot of squeezes like in the photos below. I've attached the photo because I'm not sure what the technical name of that sort of a feature would be. If self rescue is not possible would they attempt to maneuver a stretcher through that? Not an enviable task. Can you comment on how you would actually do that? They wouldn't for example attempt to drill through the rock, maybe to create a tunnel that intersects the cave? Or maybe say "to hell with the spinal injury the only way through that is if you bend the spine?"


Impossible task. Self rescue or body recovery.

Hey! I think I know this guy? Is he a member of Niagara Frontier Grotto?
KristoriaBlack wrote:Image


Looks like the Gun Barrell in Knox Cave. Is that where this is? Did you get to see the anatomically-correct Mr. & Mrs. Knox? The gun barrell bypass dig was completed about 10 years ago. Not any better than the gun barrell, but at least gives you an alternate exit if someone gets stuck in the gun barrell again.
KristoriaBlack wrote:Image


Here's some more New York cavers in action:

Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
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Re: How do they rescue cavers?

Postby Arthur Digbee » Fri Dec 03, 2010 1:02 pm

mrchad9 wrote:
MoapaPk wrote:Huh, someone must have thought you (KB) were an avatar for Toxo. Maybe I'm naive, but that didn't look probable... was it? The differences in grammar would take a clever faker.

I thought you were just being quiet. I don't recall any scuffle, but I follow off-route only when we need the eggs.

Kristoria is not Toxo. Rest assured. She is a dedicated climber and her mother's situation is exactly as she described. Maybe one day I will be able to call her my friend.


Elves, when you see this, please reflect on the wisdom of being trigger-happy with account deletions. If there is content in an account, moving everything to a hidden archive area might be a good way to back up a member's work in case of elven error.

Now back to our regularly-scheduled cave cadaver programming.
OCCUPY SUMMITPOST !
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Re: How do they rescue cavers?

Postby JJBrunner » Fri Dec 03, 2010 5:47 pm

This movie explains it all...except maybe why she has an ice tool in a cave. Can anybody help me with that one?
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Re: How do they rescue cavers?

Postby england » Fri Dec 03, 2010 9:50 pm

Not everyone gets resuced. Remeber the Nutty Putty cave a few years back?
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Re: How do they rescue cavers?

Postby lcarreau » Sat Dec 04, 2010 12:23 am

england wrote:Not everyone gets resuced. Remeber the Nutty Putty cave a few years back?


Yeah! Wasn't that the one in Utah, where the "powers to be" decided to leave the body in there, then seal up the cave ???

That was a controversial decision. I hope they accepted input from the dead caver's family when they made the decision to
close up the cave ... probably forever.

And, forever is a long time.

:o
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Re: How do they rescue cavers?

Postby dmiki » Sat Dec 04, 2010 5:01 am

lcarreau wrote:I hope they accepted input from the dead caver's family when they made the decision to
close up the cave


They did:

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2009/1128/p02s07-usgn.html
http://www.deseretnews.com/article/7053 ... -cave.html
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