After cave escape, operator reviews safety

HORSE CAVE, Ky. (AP) – The Latest on the harrowing rescue of 19 from a flooded Kentucky cave (all times local):
4:30 p.m.
One day after 19 people trudged through neck-deep water to escape a flooded Kentucky cave, the cave’s operator says he’s analyzing the incident for possible safety lessons.
David Foster is executive director of the American Cave Museum, which runs the Hidden River Cave. He said he had no way to reach the group of students spelunking a mile deep in the caverns Thursday afternoon to warn them that the water was rising and threatening to block their only exit.
All got out safely after a harrowing rescue.
Now Foster said he’s looking into installing a communication system that would let guides contact employees aboveground, who could alert them to ominous forecasts.
Mammoth Cave National Park nearby has phone system along the pathways so guides are never far from a phone.
3:30 a.m.
Gary Russell was leading a group of geology students on a five-hour tour of a Kentucky cave when he turned a corner and saw water rushing by where water wasn’t supposed to be.
He had no way to communicate with the outside world, but he knew water wasn’t supposed to be a mile deep in the cave.
Russell and his group were among 19 people who escaped the flooded Hidden River Cave on Thursday afternoon. They navigated neck-deep water, rushing currents and mud so thick it sucked off the police chief’s boot. It was pitch black.
Kentucky State Police Trooper B.J. Eaton says the group that spent more than six hours inside the cave included Clemson University students, four tour guides and two police officers who got trapped when they tried to rescue the group.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press.

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