Westland man among students rescued in KY cave flash flood

The group of students who narrowly escaped a flash flood are now getting national attention and one of the cavers who led the way is a geologist from Westland.


A metro Detroit man is talking about his harrowing escape from a flooded cave in Kentucky.

College students were exploring the cave when their lives were in danger when water began pouring out of the walls and the water kept rising.

Two students were from the metro Detroit area and one of them is talking about how he got out alive.

The group of students who narrowly escaped a flash flood are now getting national attention and one of the cavers who led the way is a geologist from Westland.

"If you were to let go of that rope and the person behind you wasn't holding on, that would be a life and death situation," said 28-year-old Kalan Briggs.

Wayne State University graduate Kalan Briggs described the moment he saw trouble while trekking through the Hidden River Cave Thursday in Horse Cave Kentucky.

"We could see down a little shaft, the river, and that's common in the cave, you can see the river," he said. "On our way out from that location, that little same shaft had an extremely high velocity stream coming out of it."

Briggs was on a study trip with nine others from Clemson University in South Carolina when they noticed the rare flash flood.

"At that point, me and the other caver are on alert, our panic level increased," he said. "And we kind of made it known throughout the group, we've got to move, we got to move."

The group was on a guided tour, he says risk was high, but everyone stayed calm, their paths out of the dark cave with no cell phone reception, were limited.

"You're crawling, you're climbing, you're traversing boulders and all kinds of stuff," he said.

In tight spots, they pushed through the rising water.

"It was all very treacherous and very dangerous, where one slip would have put us down in a spot where the current would have grabbed us," he said.

All the while, with help standing by.

"The threat level was high, but we never reached a point where we could not pass and that's why the cave divers were there, in case we did reach that," Briggs said.

The group returned six hours after the journey began. Everyone made it out alive. Kalan says this experience was an adventure, he is even more motivated to study the caves further as soon as he can to study them further.
 


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