Eastern Region of the National Cave Rescue Commission

les catacombes de Paris

For information on the Eastern Region - NCRC please contact:
Regional Coordinator (Jeffrey F. Good)

For information on this web page please contact:
ER-NCRC Webmaster


Emergency Contact Information


In an emergency contact your local emergency services (911)

The Eastern Region of the NCRC uses the Virginia Department of Emergency Management as a primary contact point for local authorities to obtain regional resources. If you have a cave rescue emergency please contact the local emergency services and also recommend to them to contact regional resources through the VADEM. This is available in the following states.

Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina

Virginia Department of Emergency Management: 1-800-468-8892
Use for Cave Rescue emergencies ONLY and ONLY by Responsible Agencies.

For general information on the ERNCRC you may contact the Regional Coordinator at or via telephone at 540-828-3415.

General Information

Information on the Eastern Region

The Eastern Region of the National Cave Rescue Commission covers the catacombes Paris the states of West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey. As a percentage of cavers it is the largest of all the NCRC regions with approximately 1/3 of all active cavers and over 10,000 known caves.

Information on the NCRC

A degree of national coordination existed for many years through the National Speleological Society, but it was not until 1977, that the National Cave Rescue Commission (NCRC) was organized. It is a volunteer group developed to coordinate cave rescue resources throughout the United States. The NCRC itself is a communications network developed to help locate the actual rescue workers and equipment. Many, if not all, NCRC people do perform rescues, but not as NCRC members; rather, they serve as members of their local rescue squards, civil defense units, or cave rescue groups.

Headed by a National Coordinator, the NCRC is divided into 9 regional networks each with its own Regional Coordinator. In addition to the National and Regional Coordinators, the NCRC Staff includes three specialists: a Cave Diving Officer, a Medical Officer, and a Training Officer, who provide advice and keep track of diving and medical rescue equipment and personnel. The NCRC depends on many volunteers whose special knowledge, talents, or contacts make the network more effective.

Beside its main functions as a communications and resource coordination network, the NCRC has other missions. Included in the NCRC’s duties are training personnel and the maintenance of a good working relationship with other rescue-oriented organizations, government agencies or sources of specialized equipment and services.

Another NCRC mission is to maintain current files of possibly useful equipment or services which can be obtained through the above sources. The NCRC is charged with developing and maintaining a limted supply of certain equipment such as modified Neil-Robertson litters and rescue pulleys in key locations throughout the country. Additionally, the NCRC encourages research on new cave rescue equipment and techniques, and evaluates existing equipment and techniques.

Each year the NCRC attempts to increase the number and proficiency of cave rescuers across the U.S. by sponsoring training sessions, seminars, and workshops in each region and by encouraging other cave rescue organizations to conduct similar educational programs. They encourage international cooperation by developing contacts with cave rescuers and responsible agencies in other countries, by preplanning with these groups when U.S. involvement in rescues is anticipated, and by inviting participation of caver rescuers from other countries to NCRC seminars.

Information on the Cave Rescue Section

The Cave Rescue Section (CRS) is a section of the National Speleological Society (NSS). The purpose of the Cave Rescue Section is to provide a means of disseminating and exchanging cave rescue information, to encourage the development of cave rescue skills, techniques and equipment, to promote and encourage safe caving practices, and to serve as a liaison between the National Cave Rescue Commission (NCRC) and the members of the NSS. The section sponsors a session at the annual NSS Convention where there members present papers and other relevant material to cave rescue. The CRS also holds an annual meeting which follows the NCRC Board meeting at the NSS Convention. Another function that the CRS provides is a section newsletter entitled the Muddy Litter Letter.

The annual dues for the CRS are $6.00 per year for U.S. residents and $12.00 per year for non U.S. residents. With membership dues you will receive the Muddy Litter Letter which is mailed approximately six times per year.

To join the Cave Rescue Section please send your dues payable in US currency to:
Cave Rescue Section
c/o Gary Moss
7713 Shreve RD
Falls Church, VA 22043-3315

To submit articles to the Muddy Litter Letter for publication you mail the submission to the above address or email the editor Barbara Moss.

What To Do In An Emergency

So your on a caving trip and you or a member of your team becomes injured. In the minutes after this happens you must doseveral things to insure the safety of the injured and the team.The following is a checklist that everyone that caves should keepin mind just in case an injury happens.

Links of Interest

Caving Related

Search and Rescue Related

EMS Related


Training Information

les catacombes de Paris

Upcoming Events

Weeklong Cave Rescue Training

Rockingham County Fairgrounds Harrisonburg, Virginia

Courses offered are Task Force Member Level 1, Task Force Leader Level 2, and Wilderness EMT. The seminar consists of extensive classroom and field work in all phases of cave rescue including underground environment, vertical rescue, hauling systems, extrication techniques, medical management, communication systems, and the organization and management of cave rescue operations. Basic and advanced course material is presented for students who typically include cavers, emergency service personnel, and emergency managers.

For information on Weeklng 2008 please contact:
Weeklong Coordinator (Tony Smith)
For a flyer on this training please click below:
Weeklong 2008 Flyer (Available for Download Now)

Course Information

Orientation to Cave Rescue (OCR)

An introductory level program which consists of classroom and field work in all phases of cave rescue including: underground environment, extrication techniques, communication systems, medical management, and organization and management of cave rescue. The basic orientation course material is presented for students who typically include cavers, emergency services personnel, and rescue management personnel.

Task Force Member Level 1

Consists of extensive training in all phases of cave rescue. Students will be instructed in incident command systems, basic medical procedures, mechanical advantage systems, cave environment, communications, litter rigging and transport, and single rope techniques. By the conclusion of this course the student should be well prepared to serve as a team member in most rescue situations.

Task Force Leader Level 2

Takes over where Task Force Member concluded. Task Force Member is a prerequisite for participation in Task Force Leader Level 2, and students are expected to have reviewed and practiced their Level 1 skills prior to the beginning of Level 2. Students will receive more advanced training in many of the disciplines covered in Level 1 training. In addition, students will have an opportunity to develop and enhance their leadership and management skills.

Specialist Level 3 Vertical

Offers the student an opportunity to expand and refine their vertical rescue skills. Extensive field work in highlines, mechanical advantage systems, rebelays, and non-traditional vertical systems, plus water problems and Incident Command activities. Task Force Leader Level 2 is a prerequisite for Specialist Level 3 Vertical.

Specialist Wilderness EMT

Designed to train medical personnel in the application of their skills in the cave and wilderness setting. Students are encouraged to have previous SAR or Cave Rescue experience. Prior certification as an EMT or higher is a prerequisite for this course. WEMT expands on the student’s assessment, intervention, and stabilization skills. Operations in the cave environment are emphasized. This course meets the standards established by the Wilderness EMS Institute.

How Do I Schedule an Event?

If you are interested in hosting any of the NCRC courses you may contact the regional coordinator using the contact information listed below.

Cave Rescue Incidents and Accidents


Reports listed herein have all happened within the Eastern Region of the NCRC. This area includes the following states: West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, Delaware, North Carolina, and the District of Columbia. Each of the reports is broken up into three categories: The actual report of the accident/incident, references, and an analysis of the event.

A significant number of these reports have been taken verbatim from the National Speleological Society’s annual reports of American Caving Accidents. Most of these reports are the work of Steve Knutson, the long time editor of the NSS American Caving Accidents reports. We wish to thank him for his long term efforts in cave rescue.

There is also a large number of reports that have been taken from grotto newsletters and other sources. Where applicable there is a reference made to the source of the report.

The purpose of these reports is to educate cavers of the dangers involved in caving and to maybe prevent future accidents and incidents. Please read these incidents and take notes. Remember what you learn today may prevent you from having an accident or even a fatality tomorrow.

If you know of an accident or incident that is not listed that took place in the Eastern Region please notify us so that it can be listed on the web site for others to learn from. We are especially grateful for articles about the actual cave trips beyond just the accident report. These article allow further detailed analysis of incidents to better understand why they happened the way they did.

Currently 188 of 350* reports are available on-line(02/23/05).

Please note that we are working as fast as possible to catalog all the rescues within the Eastern Region but due to the volume of data it is taking a very long time. If you do not see information on a rescue or seek further information please contact Douglas Moore via E-Mail at


May 26, Carpenters Cave, PA


January, Cass Cave, WV


February 25, Overholts Blowing Cave, WV

May 28, Breathing Cave, VA (BODY RECOVERY)

July 9, Carnegie Cave, PA (Fire) (BODY RECOVERY)

July 26, Stauton Quarry Cave, VA (Bad Air) (BODY RECOVERY x 2)

November 23, Cass Cave, WV


March 16, Cass Cave, WV (Vertical problem, C)

March 16, Elkhorn Mountain Cave, WV (Vertical problem, C)

October 21, Wind (Cold) Cave, PA (Entrapment, C)


March 7, Cass Cave, WV (Vertical problem, C)

May 25, Big Ridge Cave, PA (Fall, NC)

December 7, Schofer Cave, PA (Fall, NC)


March 7, Cassell Cave, WV

April 27, The Hole, WV

July 12, Overholts Blowing Cave, WV

October 24, Organ Cave, WV


May 23, Unnamed Pit, WV

August, Organ Cave, WV


January 15, Arm Pit Cave, PA

July 16, Walt Allen Cave, WV

May 28, Hellhole Cave, WV

December 3, Moyers Twin Wells, WV


February 17, Crabtree Cave, WV

February, Elkhorn Mountain Cave, WV

April 16, Hellhole Cave, WV

April 21, Organ Cave, WV

November 3, J-4 Cave, PA

December 8, Organ Cave, WV


Unknown, Laurel Caverns, PA

January 25, Canterbury Cave, WV

February 20, J-4 Cave, PA

June 23, Hosterman’s Pit, PA

October 19, Sinnitt-Thorn Mountain Cave, WV

October 20, Hellhole Cave, WV

December 22, Lewis Cave, WV


January 30, Organ Cave, WV

February 9, Bowden Cave, WV

May 11, Dig Spring, WV


July 1, Barnes Pit, WV (BODY RECOVERY)

July 13, John Brown’s Cave, WV

July 19, Norman’s Cave, WV

August, Twiggs Cave, MD

August 30, Snedegar-Crookshank Cave, WV

September 13, Beacon Cave, WV

November 8, Nutt Cave, WV

November 29, Schoolhouse Cave, WV

Unknown, Bowden Cave, WV


May 8, Rubber Chicken Cave, WV

June 13, Crookshank Cave, WV

June 25, Cornwell Cave, WV

July 4, Crookshank Cave, WV

July 19, Crabtree Cave, MD

August 7, Crookshank Cave, WV

August 29, Cass Cave, WV

September, Miller’s Cave, VA

October 28, Cass Cave, WV

November 13, Rubber Chicken Cave, WV


May 23, Sheepman’s Cave, MD

Summer, McClure’s Cave, PA

July 9, Organ Cave, WV

July 30, My Cave, WV (BODY RECOVERY)

July 31, Canadian Hole, WV

August 28, Cass Cave, WV (BODY RECOVERY)

October 14, Twiggs Cave, MD


March 25, Nutt Cave, WV

May 28, Sites Cave, WV

July 3, Canadian Hole, WV (BODY RECOVERY)

September, Bowden Cave, WV


March 10, Pig Hole Cave, VA

May 9, New River Cave, VA

June, Schoolhouse Cave, WV

July 20, Hellhole Cave, WV

October 27, Organ Cave, WV

November 17, Whitings Neck Cave, WV

December 1, Pig Hole, WV


January 18, New River Cave, VA

March 9, Carpenters Pit, WV

May 10, Sinnitt Cave, WV

July 19, Sinnitt Cave, WV

Ocotober 11, Endless Caverns, VA


March 8, I-81 Cave, VA

March 16, Patton Cave, WV

April 25, Clover Hollow Cave, WV

May 16, Nutt Cave, WV

June 14, Robins Rift, WV

July 12, Hellhole Cave, WV

August 12, Big Springs Cave, WV

October 10, Lostworld Caverns, WV

December 12, Clover Hollow Cave, VA


January 24, Just Cave, WV

January 30, Patton Cave, WV

March 26, Haynes Cave, WV

March 27, Crooked Swamp Cave, NJ (BODY RECOVERY)

April 17, Buddy Penleys Cave, VA

Spring, Paul Penleys Cave, VA

June 12, Laurel Creek Cave, WV

August 14, Organ Cave, WV

October 3, Culverson Creek Cave, WV

October 4, Organ Cave, WV

October 10, Canadian Hole, WV

November 13, Friars Hole Cave System, WV

November 28, Harmons Waterfall Cave, WV


January 8, Lemon Hole Cave, PA

January 9, Bear Cave, PA

March 5, Simmons-Mingo Cave, WV

March 6, Butler Cave, VA

March 12, Devils Den, VA

March 19, W.V. Cave, WV

March 24, Blessington Mountain Wells, PA

May 14, Death Pit, WV

June 29, Hellhole Cave, WV

October 2, Driebelibis Cave, PA (BODY RECOVERY)

November 12, Organ Cave, WV

November 12, Whitings Neck Cave, WV

November 26, Swago Pit, WV


January 15, Catacombes Paris tarif, VA

Feburary 4, Hosterman’s Pit, PA

March, J-4 Cave, PA

April 14, Clover Hollow Cave, VA

May 27, McClungs Cave, WV

June 17, Molers Cave, WV

July, Hellhole Cave, WV

July 20, Hellhole Cave, WV

September, Harlansburg Cave, PA

September 1, F.T.A. Cave, WV

October 31, Paul Penleys Cave, VA

November 2, Nutt Cave, WV

November 5, Breathing Cave, VA

November 10, Laurel Caverns, PA

November 19, Sharers Cave, PA

December 1, Cass Cave, WV (BODY RECOVERY)

December 23, Acme #5 Cave, WV


February 24, Bowden Cave, WV

May, Norman Cave, WV

August 24, Simmons-Mingo Cave, WV

September 21, Cricket Cave, WV

Fall, Leigh Cave, NJ

October 13, Newcastle Murder Hole, VA

October 19, W.V’s Cave, WV

October 20, Acme Quarry Cave, WV

October 25, Organ Cave, WV

November 28, Culverson Creek Cave, WV (BODYRECOVERY)


January 18, Breathing Cave, VA

February 16, Bowden Cave, WV

March 6, Clover Hollow Cave, VA

March 30, Cassell Cave, WV

April 25, Melville’s Mudhole Cave, PA

July 19, Breathing Cave, VA

August 23, Stumpbottom Cave, VA

September 13, McClung’s Cave, WV

September 28, Arritt Mill Tunnel, VA

November 1, Carpenter-Swago Cave System, WV

November 15, Molers Cave, WV

November 22, Scott Hollow Cave, WV

December 6, Scott Hollow Cave, WV

December 28, Rehoboth Church Cave, WV


January 10, Rocky Hollow Cave, VA

Winter, Massanutten Caverns, VA

February 13, Cave in the Canoe Creek Mine, PA

May 23, Lowe Cave, VA

May 23, Ludington’s Cave, WV

May 24, Lowe Cave, VA

May 24, Butler Cave, VA

July 19, Unnamed Pit, VA

August 13, Bowden Cave, WV

September 8, Unnamed Pit, WV


February 7, New River Cave, VA

March 5, Porters Cave, VA

March 6, Scott Hollow Cave, WV

June 12, Scott Hollow Cave, WV

June 18, Arch Spring Cave, PA(BODY RECOVERY)

Summer, Cass Cave, WV

July 10, Grapevine Cave, WV

July 23, Stevens Farm Cave, WV

September 24, Pig Hole, VA (BODY RECOVERY)


February 11, Paxton’s Cave, VA

February 11, Scott Hollow Cave, WV

March 11, Rimstone Falls Cave, WV

July 15, Rehoboth Church Cave, WV

July 23, My Cave, WV (BODY RECOVERY)

August 26, Sharer’s Cave, PA

August 27, Ludington’s Cave, WV

November 18, Clarks Cave, VA


March 15, John Browns Cave, WV

April 8, Bear Cave, PA

May 26, Laurel Caverns, PA

May 27, Devil’s Kitchen, WV

May 27, Bowden Cave, WV

June 18, New Trout Cave, WV

August 2, Unnamed Cave, VA

Fall, Organ Cave, WV

November 10, Bone-Norman Cave, WV

December, Clover Hollow Cave, VA


Winter, Wildcat Cave, WV

January, Cave Mountain Cave, WV

February, Old Mill Cave, VA

March 23, J-4 Cave, PA

April 27, Organ Cave, WV

May 12, Raven’s Roost, VA (Practice Session)

Spring, Beacon Cave, WV

Spring, Burnside Branch Cave, WV

May 25, Bone/Norman Cave, WV

July 6, Hosterman’s Pit, PA

July 29, Ruth Cave, PA

August 4, Lawrence Domepit, WV

August 17, Big Ridge Cave, PA

September, Roadside Pit, WV

September 15, McFerrin Breakdown Cave, WV

December 15, John Brown Cave, WV

December 28, Harper’s Pit, WV


January, Smith Cave, PA

January, New Paris Sinks, PA

Spring, J-4, PA

Spring, Con Cave, PA

May 16, Marhsall’s Cave, VA

May 25, Brammer Cave, WV

May 31, Con Cave, PA

Summer, Long-Cock Cave, PA

June, Killiansburg Cave, WV

July 4, J-4 Cave, PA

July 22, Carol’s Crack, WV

July 29, Sharps Cave, WV

August 22, Lost World Cave, WV

September 4, Sites Cave, WV

September, J-4 Cave, PA

October 26, Portal Cave, WV

November 14, Fletchers Cave, WV

December 18, Organ Cave, WV

December 19, Red Bridge Cave, PA

December 19, Schofer’s Cave, PA


February 6, J-4 Cave, PA

February 13, J-4 Cave, PA

February 13, Laural Caverns, PA

February 28, Greises Cave, MD

April 3, Sharps Cave, WV

April 24, New Sinkhole, NJ (BODY RECOVERY)

June 26, Crossroads Cave, VA

Summer, Bowden Cave, WV

July 3, Marshalls Cave, VA

July 11, Laural Caverns, PA

July 24, Organ Cave, WV

July 31, Porters Cave, VA

July 31, Bone-Norman Cave, WV

August 7, Scott Hollow Cave, WV

August 19, Whitings Neck Cave, WV

September 18, New River Cave, VA

November 4, New Trout Cave, WV

November 13, Bowden Cave, WV


March 21, Sinnet Thorn Mountain Cave, WV (ACA)

March, Bowden Cave, WV (ACA)

April 1, Unnamed Sinkhole, MD (ACA)

April 27, Norman Cave, WV (ACA)

May 5, Norman Cave, WV (ACA)

June 12, Laurel Caverns, PA (ACA)

July 17, Bakerton Limeston Quarry, WV (ACA) (FATALITY)

August 6, J-4 Cave, PA (ACA)

September 4, Cass Cave, WV (ACA)

September 10, Laurel Caverns, PA

September 10, Bowden Cave, WV

September 11, New Trout Cave, WV

October 15, Greenville Saltpeter Cave, WV

October 15, Turkey Cave, VA (ACA)

December 17, Cass Cave, WV (ACA)


January, Barberry Cave, VA

June 21, Bowden Cave, WV

June 22, Bowden Cave, WV

June 22, Bowden Cave, WV

August, Rehobeth Church Cave, WV

August, Laurel Caverns, PA

September 3, Owl Cave, VA

September, Scott Hollow Cave, VA

October 21, Hancock Cave, VA

November 25, Laurel Caverns, PA

Winter, Pig Hole Cave, VA


February 24, Flower Pot Cave, WV

June 27, Bowden Cave, WV

July 4, Laurel Caverns, PA

July 7, Lockridge Aqua Cave, VA

October 19, Cave Mountain Cave, WV

October 25, Laurel Caverns, PA

October 25, Missing Person Search, Mannassas, VA

October 29, Carpenters Swago Pit, WV


January, Beacon Cave, WV

March 8, New River Cave, VA (FATALITY)

May 31, McClungs Cave, WV

Summer, Bowden Cave, WV

Summer, Cassell Cave, WV

Summer, Bath County, VA

Summer, Trout Rock Cave, WV

July 12, James River Cave, VA

July 13, Hell Hole Cave, WV (Caver Fall)

July 16, Laurel Caverns, PA


February 14, My Cave, WV (Caver Fall)

June 5, J-4 Cave, PA

July ??, Trout Rock Caves, WV (Fall)

July 11, Bartons Cave, PA (Inexperience, Fall)

July 18, Key Hole Cave, NY (Caver Stuck)

September, Sharps Cave, WV (Caver Fall)

September, Sharps Cave, WV (Caver Stuck)

September, Sharps Cave, WV (Caver Fall)

September, Bowden Cave, WV (Inexperience, Lost)

October 3, J-4 Cave, PA (Caver Fall)

October 5, Cassell Cave, WV (Inexperience, Vertical)

October 12, Bowden Cave, WV (Inexperience, Lost)

October 25, Whitings Neck Cave, WV (Caver Fall)

October 30, J-4 Cave, PA (Caver Fall)

November 5, 3-D Maze Cave, VA (Caver Fall)


January 23-25, Hurricane Ridge Cave, WV (Water Entrapment)

February 13, Organ Cave, WV (lost)

April 21, New River Cave, VA (lost)

May 15, Allegheny Blowhole, VA (caver fall)

July 4, Bowden Cave, WV (caver fall)

July 31, Bowden Cave, WV (lost)

November 12, J-4 Cave, PA (Caver Fall)

November 20, Cave Mountain Cave, WV (caverfall)

December 12, Marshalls Cave, VA (caverfall)


March, 11 Cass Cave, WV (flood entrapment)

March 15, J4 Cave, PA (caver fall)

March 16, Birds Drop, VA (fatality)

March 24, Doe Mountain Cave, VA (caver fall)

June 27, Fieldhouse Cave, WV (caverfall)

July 1, Big Springs Cave, WV (caverfall)

July 4, Greenville Saltpeter Cave, WV (caverfall)

July 9, Steeles Cave, WV (calf rescue)

August 12, Clarks Cave, VA (caverfall)

August, Duffield Cave, PA, (entrapment)


April 7, Bowden Cave, WV (caver fall)

June 23, Carpenters Swago Cave, (lost)

July 4, unnamed cave, PA (fatality)

July 28, Bowden Cave, WV (flood entrapment)

September 1, Cass Cave, WV (inadequate equipment)

September 1, My Cave, WV (inadequate equipment)

September 3, Trout Cave, WV (lost cavers)

September 3, Shreve Howell Pit, WV (inadequate equipment)

September 9, John Browns Cave, WV (lost)

October 20, Bowden Cave, WV (fatality, medical)


March 17, Bowden Cave, WV (caver fall)

April 7, Bowden Cave, WV (lost)

April 19, Carpenters Swago Cave, WV (caver fall)

April 20, Cassell Cave, WV (caver fall)

May 12, Trout Cave, WV (medical)

August 25, Casparis Cave, PA (lost)

September 21, Cassell Cave, WV (caver fall)

October 1, Maxwellton Sink Cave, WV (stuck caver)


March 29, Womer Cave, PA (rock fall)

April 26, Laurel Caverns, PA (caver fall)

August 19, Bear Cave, PA (lost)

September 27, Omega Cave System, VA (fatality)

September 27, Nellies Cave, VA (cave fall)

October 25, Bear Cave, PA (lost)


Spring, Lynx Cave, VA (Stuck caver)


February 19, Breathing Cave, VA (caver Fall)