Rescuers extract Huntsville man from cave after 30 hours

Sinking Cove Cave entrance.
Sinking Cove Cave entrance.
Huntsville Cave Rescue Unit responded to the scene.
Huntsville Cave Rescue Unit responded to the scene.
Rescuers carried the man to safety after a 30 hour rescue operation.
Rescuers carried the man to safety after a 30 hour rescue operation.

SHERWOOD, TN (WAFF) - After 30 hours, rescue crews freed a man who was trapped in a cave near the Alabama-Tennessee state line.

51-year-old Dirk Siron, of Huntsville, fell into Sinking Cove Cave on Sunday afternoon around 3:00. He was on an expedition with a group at the cave. Siron suffered injuries to his pelvis, wrist, ribs, and back when he fell 15-20 feet.

Siron was about 2,000 feet underground when the accident happened. Firefighters at the scene said the fall could have easily killed the experienced caver.

[Video: Cavers inside Sinking Cove Cave]

Cave rescue crews from Huntsville, Chattanooga, and Knoxville worked to get Siron out. 60 volunteers also worked on helping the caver. Some of the groups who were involved were the Dogwood City Grotto and the Huntsville Cave Rescue Unit.

Rescuers had to maneuver Siron through small crevices in the dark cave thousands of feet below the surface. They had to cut a larger opening at the cave mouth to get the injured caver out safely.

Rescue Chief Buddy Lane said crews had to go up the mountainside and come back down through the cave to rescue Siron.

"In an event like this, it's a challenge to get everyone assisting with the rescue in and out of the cave without getting someone else hurt," said Lane.

Siron was airlifted to a Tennessee hospital to be treated for the injuries he suffered during the fall.

Sinking Cove Cave is restricted to the general public and requires a permit from the Southeastern Cave Conservancy to visit.

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