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Rescue for 5 caught in Virginia Cave after rainstorm



A rescue operation is in progress to get a group of men who got stuck in a cave in Virginia after the rain made it difficult to get out, the officials said Sunday.

A group of six initially planned to spend the weekend in Cleveland, Virginia, until it started to rain late Saturday night, said Russell County Emergency Management Coordinator Jess Powers told ABC News. The rain caused the floor in the cave to become slippery, making it difficult for the men to get out, Powers said.

One escaped, but the other five remained in the cave, he added.

  PHOTO: Search and Rescue Attempts for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management - Attempt to rescue five men from a cave in Cleveland, Virginia on April 28, 2019.
WJHL
Search and Rescue for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management attempt to rescue five men from a cave in Cleveland, Virginia, on April 28, 2019.

Only seven miles of the extensive cave were mapped, and the rescue could take up to 12 hours-and rescue coordinator for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, told reporters on Sunday morning. Rescuers have reached the men, and it does not look like they're too far in the cave, he added.

Still, it takes about 90 minutes to get to them, Chrimes said. The first person was pulled out of the cave before 16:00. Sunday announced Jeff Stern, the state coordinator of the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, on Twitter.

The captured men have been in the cave since 7am, Chrimes said. They were not prepared for the rain after entering the cave and did not bring enough water and food to survive for a long time, Chrimes said.

But rescuers have supplied them with water, he added.

  PHOTO: Search and Rescue for Attempting the Emergency Department in Virginia to Rescue Five Men from a Cave in Cleveland, Virginia (VA) on April 28, 2019.
WJHL
Browse and Rescue for the Attempt of the Virginia Department of Emergency Management to rescue five men from a cave in Cleveland, Virginia, on April 28, 2019, rescue in the narrow column at the entrance to the cave, Chrimes said. Rope climbing and pushing off are required to get through the slope at the entrance of the cave.

The temperatures in the mid-fifties are below ground, with the potential for hypothermia, authorities said. The person who escaped told the officials that others felt weak and showed signs of hypothermia, Chrimes said, adding that mobile phones and radios do not work inside.

ABC News "Joshua Hoyos and Will Gretsky contributed to this report.


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