BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT) - Thursday, rescue teams spent several hours searching for three A-state students who went missing in a cave in Cushman. Thankfully, those students were found cold, and covered in mud, but alive.
The cave the students were lost in is the Blowing Cave which, even though it has been well explored, it is known to be dangerous and rather difficult to maneuver through with up to 1.43 miles of mapped cave. The difficulty level could be with any cave, though.
Landon Downing, Secretary of the Cavers of the Batesville Region of Arkansas Grotto and who assisted in finding the students said there could be hundreds of caves in Arkansas, mapped or unmapped, that can pose dangers to explorers.
Risks including rock breakdowns, deep pitfalls, and other things that could cause an injury to be more dangerous underground.
"A situation like this opens minds up to the fact that it is a dangerous environment," said Downing. "It's not safe. It is wet. It is cold, it is slick and muddy and there is no margin for error."
Downing said many cave explorers might have a misplaced sense of security when exploring a cave.
"Don't always think that this is already mapped out, this is documented somewhere and that somebody is going to come find me," said Downing. "Like I said reach out to those groups in advance and tell them where you are going and if anything let them lead and take you in there."
Downing stated that they would be meeting with local emergency response officials to coordinate strategic plans for future caving incidents.
He also said cave incidents are inevitable but stressed the importance of always letting someone know when and where you plan to explore.
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