Young girl is rescued from a cave during a routine field trip
"I was at school, and I got a call saying we had an issue in the cave with a student," said Assistant Principal of Normal Park Museum Magnet School, Matt Thurman, "And I immediately came out because safety and security is so important to us."
The 12-year-old was just one of 72 kids from Normal Park on the tour when the incident happened. That’s when the Chattanooga Fire Department and Cavern Cliff Rescue Team from Hamilton County stepped in to help. "The cave staff and the first responders are to be commended. Everything was calm very orderly, and they’re true professionals," said Thurman.
Cave Manager Patty Perlaky said accidents like that aren’t unheard of, but they are avoidable, and if it does happen the most important thing to do is remain calm.
"Watch your step," said Perlaky, "Just go nice and slow, if you’re not sure of your footing brace your arms really well too. It’s sad that it happened to her, but she was very very calm about it and very relaxed, and that’s very helpful to everybody that’s helping her."
Thurman said all grade levels take outdoor trips similar to this on a weekly basis, but urges parents not to worry because this was a very isolated incident. And Perlaky said after she was released, the girl walked out of the caves all on her own, happy and smiling.