Another rescue in progress at Utah's Nutty Putty Cave

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Re: Another rescue in progress at Utah's Nutty Putty Cave

Postby Anonymous_Coward » Dec 2, 2009 6:49 pm

For those of you frustrated with the flow of information, you should know that the Utah County Sherriff's Office has jurisdiction over this rescue. They have issued what is basically a gag order to all of us that were involved. The sherriff is concerned about unofficial reports making it into the public arena.

Please know that there is much to be said, but it cannot be said. We will have to wait until the official reports come out, and then we'll probably have more breathing room for discussion.

I have probably already said too much in this thread. I would have liked to have said more, but only mentioned the two points that were reported incorrectly by the media. Namely that John was "free" and then re-trapped, and to let you know that we cavers were not involved in the "unanimous" decision to make the cave into John's grave. I will withhold further commentary for now.
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Re: Another rescue in progress at Utah's Nutty Putty Cave

Postby Ralph E. Powers » Dec 2, 2009 9:18 pm

This is the final word from the Land Owners SITLA.
This information comes from a liasion officer of one of the rescue groups/cavers and the sheriff's dept and SITLA.

For all interested,

I now have details of what the Sheriff's department are planning to do to the cave. The good part is that it leaves most of the cave intact for the future. Here they are for all of you:

First, as the family has determined to keep the body in the cave and use it as a tomb, the lower section of the slide part of the cave is to be blasted just below the drop where the ladder has been in that first belly crawl. This allows for the sanctity of that small part of the cave and also stops access to those parts of the lower area in the cave where people are likely to get stuck.

Second, To satisfy SITLA and yet compromise for the cavers and the future, a cement plug will be poured in the belly crawl potion of the entrance. Plywood will be placed against the gate to preserve it intact. Cement will be poured to fill that area and up to the narrow part of the throat. The sinkhole will remain. This will be done to stop access to the cave while the body turns to bones (the smell is really bad already) and so long as SITLA and the political environment remain as they are. This preserves the cave intact and preserves the natural resource for future times when thinks are more favorable. The cement, with a lot of work can be removed and the cave would be back in business as before but without the constant hastle of the nasty tight areas we have had so much trouble with in the past.

Not a perfect solution but not total destruction of the cave which was what SITLA wanted.

This is just for your information.
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Re: Another rescue in progress at Utah's Nutty Putty Cave

Postby Andy » Dec 2, 2009 11:01 pm

They have issued what is basically a gag order to all of us that were involved.


Andy, Does this de facto gag order trump the first amendment to the US constitution? Or do you fear retribution for speaking?
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Re: Another rescue in progress at Utah's Nutty Putty Cave

Postby Anonymous_Coward » Dec 3, 2009 12:32 am

Andy wrote: Does this de facto gag order trump the first amendment to the US constitution?


I'm sure it does not trump the First Amendment. More like an agreement between Utah County and Utah Cave SAR. I am just trying to be respectful of those in charge. It is what they have asked.

It is a delicate situation, to say the least.
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Re: Another rescue in progress at Utah's Nutty Putty Cave

Postby Ralph E. Powers » Dec 3, 2009 12:34 am

Andy wrote:
They have issued what is basically a gag order to all of us that were involved.


Andy, Does this de facto gag order trump the first amendment to the US constitution? Or do you fear retribution for speaking?


I can understand a Gag order to prevent misinformation from getting out to the press. Already on this forum and others there were wild ideas about what went on when folks were hearing it second or supposedly first hand... but thing is, with this death the police are obligated to ensure nothing amiss went wrong... they need 100% facts to ensure that there wasn't any signs of negligence or anything of that nature. This is NOT an accusation at all against ANYONE it is just how police work in matters of investigation and to protect all parties from possible indictments and litigations. So a gag order is in the rights until an official statement has been released.

Afterwards ... well... people can say what they want.
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Re: Another rescue in progress at Utah's Nutty Putty Cave

Postby shibumi » Dec 3, 2009 9:01 am

Evan Gehring wrote:
Bill P wrote:But the ACA editor is not and should not be a spokesperson for the NSS on cave rescue, anyway. If we had one, it should probably be the NCRC National Coordinator, or perhaps the Safety and Techniques Committee chairman. Better yet, the NSS should have a designated public and media relations person for such incidents.


This is where I digress from your opinion Bill.

The NSS President's office [or if deferred (which should be noted) from the Presidents office to the VP or media relations person] should be the spokesperson [unless deferred] and concerns of NCRC National Coordinator or Safety and Techniques Committee chairman should be filter through the office of the President of the NSS. .


Sorry for the off-original-topic post, but I needed to address this.

Number one from the NCRC charter, as created by the BOG:

1. To act as spokesman for the Society regarding cave rescue. (It shall be understood that it is the policy of the Society to maintain a low profile during rescue operations to the extent possible and to avoid bringing awareness of ongoing rescue activities to public notice.)

http://www.caves.org/ncrc/national/char ... c_2003.htm

In that light, as National Coordinator, one of my tasks IS to speak for the Society regarding cave rescue. In the past in both my current role as NCRC National Coordinator, and in my previous tenure as Regional Coordinator, I have on many occasions spoken for the NSS regarding cave rescue. That is, by definition, Public Information Officer (PIO) duties.
The NCRC Board of Regional Coordinators and their designates (Education Committee, Officers, and to a lesser extent, instructors) share in that duty with the ultimate responsibility falling to the National Coordinator.



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Re: Another rescue in progress at Utah's Nutty Putty Cave

Postby shibumi » Dec 3, 2009 9:17 am

Ralph E. Powers wrote:
Andy wrote:
They have issued what is basically a gag order to all of us that were involved.


Andy, Does this de facto gag order trump the first amendment to the US constitution? Or do you fear retribution for speaking?


I can understand a Gag order to prevent misinformation from getting out to the press. Already on this forum and others there were wild ideas about what went on when folks were hearing it second or supposedly first hand... but thing is, with this death the police are obligated to ensure nothing amiss went wrong... they need 100% facts to ensure that there wasn't any signs of negligence or anything of that nature. This is NOT an accusation at all against ANYONE it is just how police work in matters of investigation and to protect all parties from possible indictments and litigations. So a gag order is in the rights until an official statement has been released.

Afterwards ... well... people can say what they want.


As Andy stated, it is not a legal gag order which can only be issued by a judge. It is a matter of respecting the delicate balance that exists between the agencies with jurisdiction and the volunteers who will have to work with those agencies in the future. The RA requesting people involved not discuss the situation carries no legal weight, but it is in ALL of our best interests that the working relationship established be maintained. I too am just as interested in the details both personally and professionally as anyone else, but that working relationship will affect rescues in the future and carries a lot more value than satisfying Right Now the curiousity of the public. More details will emerge, but folks need to have patience. Which is hard, I know.

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Re: Another rescue in progress at Utah's Nutty Putty Cave

Postby DeanWiseman » Dec 3, 2009 5:50 pm

shibumi wrote:Number one from the NCRC charter, as created by the BOG:

1. To act as spokesman for the Society regarding cave rescue. (It shall be understood that it is the policy of the Society to maintain a low profile during rescue operations to the extent possible and to avoid bringing awareness of ongoing rescue activities to public notice.)

In that light, as National Coordinator, one of my tasks IS to speak for the Society regarding cave rescue. In the past in both my current role as NCRC National Coordinator, and in my previous tenure as Regional Coordinator, I have on many occasions spoken for the NSS regarding cave rescue. That is, by definition, Public Information Officer (PIO) duties.
The NCRC Board of Regional Coordinators and their designates (Education Committee, Officers, and to a lesser extent, instructors) share in that duty with the ultimate responsibility falling to the National Coordinator.


Less bureaucracy and more preparedness!! This situation was waiting to happen... and will happen again. It's only a matter of time. We should learn from this and prepare. On a more positive note, it sounds like a teeny tiny bit of "reason" has entered the Nutty Putty situation.

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Re: Another rescue in progress at Utah's Nutty Putty Cave

Postby thecaveguy » Dec 3, 2009 9:34 pm

As a Utah caver I've been in Nutty Putty many times. Even though it's a heavily traveled cave, it's still a fun one to visit from time to time. Although it saddens me that the cave will be sealed (hopefully not permanently), it doesn't surprise me. I've seen too many people enter the cave who look like they came prepared to visit a commercial cave.

One thing I've wondered since the gate went up: Has the cave management looked into charging a mandatory nominal fee to pay for liability insurance? It may not be cheap, but if liability is a concern, charging a fee to cover a policy might alleviate those concerns. Although it's probably too late for this cave, it may be something to consider for other popular caves.
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Re: Another rescue in progress at Utah's Nutty Putty Cave

Postby wyandottecaver » Dec 3, 2009 10:47 pm

having experiance with liability insurance for caves I assure you that the fee you would need to charge for a "wild" cave would not be nominal and would open up so many additional legal vulnerabilities as to make it a poor choice. The NSS has insurance that covers their properties and events but they dont charge you to go caving. Commercial caves (who charge you to go in) found it necessary to band together in order to get insurance rates that were still high but manageable. Even then they are basically just hoping not to get hit by the "big one" so far as law suits go. Legally your burden is far far increased if you get paid as opposed to free access, just as your burden for letting someone past a gate is greater than if you just failed to run people off who visited your open entrance. As a side note, some Cave Conservancies officially state that they neither encourage or discourage subsurface visitation. You can go in "if you want to" but they certainly arent encouraging you to do so......
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Re: Another rescue in progress at Utah's Nutty Putty Cave

Postby Scott McCrea » Dec 4, 2009 10:39 pm

The Salt Lake paper says the entrance was sealed today. I would post a link, but I'm not home and it's too much trouble on this phone.
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Re: Another rescue in progress at Utah's Nutty Putty Cave

Postby Squirrel Girl » Dec 4, 2009 11:03 pm

Scott McCrea wrote:The Salt Lake paper says the entrance was sealed today. I would post a link, but I'm not home and it's too much trouble on this phone.

http://www.sltrib.com/ci_13919224
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On Thursday, the throat of the narrow cave, a 7-foot deep, 30-inch wide hole, was filled with concrete, Andrews said. Sheriff Jim Tracy told Andrews that no other parts of the cave were damaged while the cave was sealed.

The closure of the cave is not physically irreversible, Andrews said, but there are no plans to revisit the decision to close it.

"It is permanently closed from our standpoint," he said.
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Re: Another rescue in progress at Utah's Nutty Putty Cave

Postby Evan G » Dec 5, 2009 1:01 am

shibumi wrote:
Evan Gehring wrote:
Bill P wrote:But the ACA editor is not and should not be a spokesperson for the NSS on cave rescue, anyway. If we had one, it should probably be the NCRC National Coordinator, or perhaps the Safety and Techniques Committee chairman. Better yet, the NSS should have a designated public and media relations person for such incidents.


This is where I digress from your opinion Bill.

The NSS President's office [or if deferred (which should be noted) from the Presidents office to the VP or media relations person] should be the spokesperson [unless deferred] and concerns of NCRC National Coordinator or Safety and Techniques Committee chairman should be filter through the office of the President of the NSS. .


Sorry for the off-original-topic post, but I needed to address this.

Number one from the NCRC charter, as created by the BOG:

1. To act as spokesman for the Society regarding cave rescue. (It shall be understood that it is the policy of the Society to maintain a low profile during rescue operations to the extent possible and to avoid bringing awareness of ongoing rescue activities to public notice.)

http://www.caves.org/ncrc/national/char ... c_2003.htm

In that light, as National Coordinator, one of my tasks IS to speak for the Society regarding cave rescue. In the past in both my current role as NCRC National Coordinator, and in my previous tenure as Regional Coordinator, I have on many occasions spoken for the NSS regarding cave rescue. That is, by definition, Public Information Officer (PIO) duties.
The NCRC Board of Regional Coordinators and their designates (Education Committee, Officers, and to a lesser extent, instructors) share in that duty with the ultimate responsibility falling to the National Coordinator.



Anmar Mirza


Thank you Anmar for clarifying that point for me. Now I see the reasoning behind it.
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Re: Another rescue in progress at Utah's Nutty Putty Cave

Postby David Grimes » Dec 5, 2009 1:12 am

From reading the comments after the article it seems the general public (non-cavers) might be angrier about sealing the cave than the cavers here are.
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Re: Another rescue in progress at Utah's Nutty Putty Cave

Postby Scott McCrea » Dec 5, 2009 8:34 am

Image

The plugged entrance.
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