Rock House Cave has narrow passages, steep dropoffs by Melissa Yeager, KY3 News
MINERAL SPRING, Mo. -- The cave where a 13-year-old boy from Springfield was trapped on Tuesday has steep climbs, narrow passages and slick rocks that make it difficult to navigate. Seeing it from the inside makes you realize how tough it was for rescuers to carry out the 160-pound student.
The field trip was supposed to be a lesson in teamwork for students. Barry County Sheriff Mick Epperly says teamwork helped them rescue Dustin Oldfield.
Rock House Cave becomes difficult to manage almost immediately, with low ceilings, narrow passages and bats hanging from the ceiling. The only light is from artificial means.
There are many steep drops, creating real challenges for Monett Fire and Rescue members as they swung Dustin over holes and crevices. It took hours. Epperly says they had around 50 people setting up lights in the cave to light the path because the trail was so rough.
It takes about an hour and a half to climb through the cave even without an immobilized patient to carry. It's not surprising that it took rescuers six hours to reach Oldfield and carry him out.