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Man rescued from deep in N. Ga. cave

2:29 PM, May 28, 2013   |    comments
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LAFAYETTE, GA (WBIR) -- The Pennsylvania man who the Knoxville Volunteer Rescue Squad helped rescue from a Georgia cave sustained a compound fracture of his femur (upper leg), possibly several broken ribs, and a possible fractured skull from the fall.

Our Chattannoga sister station WRCB-TV has identified him as Dwight Kempf, 54.

It took almost a day for more than 100 rescuers to reach Kempf, who fell around 800 feet in Ellison's Cave near Lafayette.

WRCB-TV reports that Ellison's Cave has the two deepest free fall pits in the country.

"There have been more than one death in this cave, because it's so hard to get out," according to Erlanger Emergency Physician Dr. David Wharton.

Kempf and the friends he was with are experience cavers.

"Trying to traverse one area and slipped fell. Fell about 30 feet, bounced and went over a section which is kind of a breakdown of the rock section and fell another 30-40 feet after that," Walker County Emergency Services Director David Ashburn said.

Doctors say his femur snapped through his skin, likely broke several ribs, and appears to have fractured his skull.

"They tried to holler at him and he wouldn't speak to them," Ashburn said.

One fellow caver made the two and a half hour climb out to get help. The other two stayed back to stop the bleeding in a move that likely saved his life.

"Probably would've bled to death. This bone is hard to break. There's an artery that runs right next to it," Dr. Wharton said.

(WBIR Knoxville)

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