Climber saved nearly a day after severe injury in 1,000-foot deep cave

May 28, 2013 at 12:08 PM

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn., May 28 (UPI) -- A Pennsylvania man has been pulled from a 1,000-feet-deep cave 21 hours after he was critically injured in a fall, officials say.

The rescue from Ellison's Cave near Lafayette, Ga., required 80 expert cavers from three states, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported Tuesday.

The 54-year-old man was deep inside the cave with several other spelunkers Sunday afternoon when he fell 40 feet, suffering a skull fracture and breaking his left femur so severely it broke through the skin, officials said.

It took 3 hours for fellow cavers to climb out of the cave, considered the 12th deepest in the world, and call for medical assistance.

Emergency medical workers treated the man at the scene with transfusions and a unit of blood before he was taken out of the cave, said Walker County Coordinator David Ashburn.

He was removed from the cave Monday afternoon by rescuers who used stretchers, splints and several hauling systems.

"It was real touch and go the whole time," said Buddy Lane, assistant chief of the Chattanooga Hamilton County Rescue Service.

Rescuers, who had travelled from as far as Nashville; Atlanta; and Huntsville, Ala., left the cave about 7 p.m. Monday, Ashburn said.

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