Virginia woman dies after falling almost 100 feet inside cave, probe underway - Hindustan Times
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Virginia woman dies after falling almost 100 feet inside cave, investigation underway

Jan 17, 2024 08:09 PM IST

A woman was found dead after falling 100 feet inside a cave in southwestern Virginia, according to officials.

A woman was found dead after falling almost 100 feet inside a cave in southwestern Virginia, according to officials.

A representative image of Virginia cave(Unsplash)
A representative image of Virginia cave(Unsplash)

In a statement posted to Facebook, the Giles County Emergency Services informed that the incident took place on Friday afternoon in the Staffordsville Community outside of Pearisburg. They received a 911 call that a woman had fallen “approximately 100 feet within a cave.”

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Giles County Sheriff’s Office Deputies, Pearisburg Fire Department, and Giles Rescue Squad responded to the emergency and they quickly identified the need for additional specialised resources.

What was Draper doing in the cave?

The rescue operation was soon joined by the Celco Emergency Response team along with Blacksburg Rescue Squad’s Technical Rescue Cave team, and they were able to extricate the woman's body. The authorities, however, did not reveal whether the cave was a tourist attraction.

Officials have identified the deceased as 38-year-old Autumn Nicole Draper, who was from Fairlawn. It remains unknown what Draper was doing in the cave. However, the incident is being investigated by the Giles County Sheriff’s office.

According to the Virginia Department of Energy, the state features around 4,000 caves, reported ABC News.

“Humans are presently the largest animals which visit Virginia caves. We have used caves for shelter, religious purposes, moonshine production, mining of saltpeter, groundwater, scientific and educational research, recreation, and as commercial attractions," the department said.

The Virginia Speleological Survey, a volunteer organisation that investigates caves and operates a nature park in Giles County, estimates that there are at least 253 caverns in the county alone. The organisation stated that two of the county's greatest caverns are over 118,000 feet long and 718 feet deep.

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