Student Trapped In Cave For Three Days, Licked Walls To Stay Alive

This is how a student survived three days in a cave after college spelunking group left him behind.

A university student managed to survive three days locked in a cave without food or water after becoming separated from his group during a club spelunking trip. For three days, the teenager licked water droplets off cave walls and tried to coax out crumbs from a couple of empty energy bar wrappers to survive.

Indiana University student Lukas Cavar, 19, was on a caving expedition with a club when he was left behind and locked in the Sullivan Cave in southern Indiana.


Cavar and 12 other members of the Caving Club arrived at the Sullivan Cave at 10:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning, where the club leader unlocked the gate to the cave with a padlock. The students divided into two groups, and spent the next three hours exploring.

After about three hours of exploring, the cavers were on their way out, and Cavar was with the second group, which lagged behind the lead group.

“I thought, I’m not really enjoying this backbreaker part,” Cavar told Indiana Daily Student. “So I thought I’ll just see if I could bang it out.”

He hurried forward to meet up with the front group, but missed a narrow passage that led to the exit. When he realized that, he decided to wait until somebody found him. But nobody came for half an hour. When he eventually found his way to the exit, using graffiti arrows on the walls for orientation, it was 3 p.m. and the group had already left. The cave gate was padlocked.

"I was very confused and pretty scared. It took me a little while to wrangle my emotions and sort of approach things analytically, sensibly, to come up with a game plan to survive,” Cavar told the Indiana Daily Student.

There was no cell phone reception. He could hear cars passing on a nearby road. He screamed for help for hours. But no one came. Cavar wrote notes on his phone about what was happening until the battery died.

Despite shouting for help, he was not rescued until late on Tuesday night. Fellow students noticed he was absent from class and work without explanation and contacted the club. Members of the Caving Club returned to the cave, with fast food in hand, to rescue him.

Early on Wednesday, Cavar posted on Facebook, “Just wanted to let everyone know that I‘m safe and sound! Just got rescued about 30 minutes ago. Boy, it’s good to be back on the surface.”

Banner/Thumbnail: Pixabay

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