More Details: Caver Rescued From Georgia’s Ellison’s Cave

Details continue to emerge about the rescue of a caver from inside Georgia’s Ellison’s Cave earlier this week.

Caver Dwight Kempf, 54, was part of an experienced group of four Pennsylvanian cavers who were exploring the cave this past Sunday, May 26th, when he fell and seriously injured himself.

After the initial fall of about 9 meters (30 feet), he hit some rocks before continuing to fall another 9 to 12 meters (30 to 40 feet). By the time he finally came to a stop he had broken his left femur and fractured the base of his skull.

While two of the cavers went down to the unresponsive Kempf to administer first aid to try to stop the bleeding from the obvious leg wound, the third member of the group began the two and a half hour trip out of the cave to alert the authorities.

Once the cave rescue was initiated around 6:30 pm, over 100 rescuers from across the region descended on the cave. Due to the difficulty of the rescue and the skill level required, experts from Alabama and Tennessee were brought in to assist.

Over the next 22 hours the crews worked first to stabilize Kempf, including giving him an in-cave blood transfusion, before, using a number of techniques, hauling him to the surface from a depth of more than 800 feet.

In critical condition, Kempf was then immediately flown to by Life Force helicopter to Erlanger Medical Center in Chattanooga where he is recovering.

Dwight’s fall was a fluke but also turned out to be an example of how everything works the way it’s supposed to. Without them and the rescue/medical teams, Dwight would not have made it out alive. Jill Kempf, Dwight Kempf’s Wife

Ellison’s cave in Georgia’s Walker County is known for it’s vertical pitches, which include the two deepest pits in the United States, the 179 meter (586 foot) deep Fantastic and 134 meter (440 foot) deep Incredible.

NEW DETAILS: Man rescued from north Georgia cave [] & Pennsylvania man rescued from cave in Georgia [WPVI-TV]

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Comments (2)

  1. May 29, 2013 at 11:29 am

    I responded to the rescue – it was such a challenge in every way. The patient’s condition was deteriorating, hauling him up a 600′ drop was tough, and even just removing all of the rescue gear from the cave was an event in itself. What amazing team work –

    • Caving News
      May 29, 2013 at 2:22 pm

      Great job Philip (& everyone else who participated)!


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