In a 10-hour overnight effort, a caver from Viola was recued from Sausage Cave in the Savage Gulf on Thursday evening, September 11.
The caver, a 59-year-old man working across a canyon inside the cave at the Savage Gulf State Natural Area, fell approximately 10 feet, injuring his ribs and pelvis. The fall occurred around 2:00 p.m., but due to the remoteness of the area a 911 call was not initiated until 4:30 p.m.
That call alerted multiple rescue squads including the Chattanooga Hamilton County Rescue Cave/Cliff Team, the Coalmont and Altamont fire departments, the Beersheba Springs Rescue Squad, Grundy County Rescue, and the Tennessee State Parks Service who spent hours attempting to reach the caver.
Brad Tipton, Captain of the Cave/Cliff Technical Unit said it was a highly technical rescue operation. “You are going down a series of vertical drops, doing a horizontal cave passage that could be anywhere from 30 feet wide constricted down to 19 inches.”
As soon as rescuers brought the caver above ground, he was transported to the hospital for treatment.