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Knoxville rescuers help free woman trapped in cave

1:52 AM, Mar 25, 2013   |    comments
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  • SOURCE: Brian Pratt, Knoxville Volunteer Emergency Rescue Squad
  • SOURCE: Brian Pratt, Knoxville Volunteer Emergency Rescue Squad
  • SOURCE: Brian Pratt, Knoxville Volunteer Emergency Rescue Squad
  • SOURCE: Brian Pratt, Knoxville Volunteer Emergency Rescue Squad
  • SOURCE: Brian Pratt, Knoxville Volunteer Emergency Rescue Squad
    

Knoxville rescue workers shared their stories about how they helped save a woman trapped in a Middle Tennessee cave.

Members of the Knoxville Volunteer Emergency Rescue Squad got the call for help Saturday evening. The local group of more than a dozen immediately headed to Van Buren County and went right into the cave where a 40-year-old woman was trapped.

Squad member Brian Pratt was among the rescue crew.

"There was initially about a 200 foot drop into the entrance of the cave and then a low airspace crawl for about 20 yards back into the area of the cave that opened up into more of the passage where the accident really happened," Pratt explained.

Officials said the woman was with a group of seven other people when she fell off a cliff and got trapped in the cave.

Pratt said, "She was using a hand line and apparently lost her footing and fell approximately 40 - 60 feet. We used a Stokes Basket, such as the one behind me, and we were able to kind of drag her out like in a sled manner."

It took rescuers 7.5 hours to free the Alabama woman. Officials said the woman was talking and coherent when crews pulled her out and transported her to a Chattanooga hospital to receive treatment.

Saturday's rescue was one of many performed over the years by the nearly 120 Knoxville Volunteer Emergency Rescue Squad members.

"One of the most memorable rescues that I was a part of was a plane crashed into a tree on Topside Road. That was about six or seven years back," said Pratt.  "We had to actually rescue the pilot and his passenger out of the plane that was stuck on top of a tree. Just about anything that you can think of and put the word 'rescue' behind we can provide that service."

The United Way partially funds the rescue squad and the group also accepts donations on their website so can continue their work.

For more information about the Knoxville Volunteer Emergency Rescue Squad, click here.


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