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 graveleye » Dec 1, 2009 9:28 am

Caverdale wrote:You aren't going to find cavers more qualified that what we have. Please withhold comments until those who were involved can post what the situation was.


I don't believe I made a comment. I was actually asking a question, politely I might add.

I have no doubt whatsoever of the abilities of your-cave rescue people. I certainly wasn't passing any judgment.
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Re: Another rescue in progress at Utah's Nutty Putty Cave

Postby DeanWiseman » Dec 1, 2009 10:23 am

graveleye wrote:Are you talking some sort of press release?


Anything, really. Press release is just one avenue. Providing factual information to the discussion would certainly seem appropriate given the obtuse comments by the Sheriff's Department. :shrug:


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

Postby DeanWiseman » Dec 1, 2009 2:39 pm

Speaking of which... can someone PLEASE explain to me how Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Cannon came up with a "1-to-5 death ratio":

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/7053 ... -cave.html
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Re: Another rescue in progress at Utah's Nutty Putty Cave

Postby JR-Orion » Dec 1, 2009 2:39 pm

I woke up on Thanksgiving morning, flipped on the computer, hit google news and was surprised to see a cave rescue in the headlines. So I came over here to get the latest news. So sad. I had just been out caving on November 21st, and had to go to a family member's funeral on the 23rd, so this story kind of resonated with me. If that makes any sense.

My condolences to his family and friends.

Thanks to all of the rescue workers.
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Re: Another rescue in progress at Utah's Nutty Putty Cave

Postby Bill Putnam » Dec 1, 2009 2:56 pm

DeanWiseman wrote:Speaking of which... can someone PLEASE explain to me how Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Cannon came up with a "1-to-5 death ratio":

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/7053 ... -cave.html


Apparently they decided that "5 rescues, 1 death" means there is a 5:1 ratio of deaths to visits. They should have compared the number of rescues and deaths to the number of visits to the cave over at least the same period as that of the incidents. I suppose that some of the cavers involved tried to tell the sheriff and the media that the cave has historically seem more than 3,000 visitors a year for decades, with only 5 rescues and 1 fatality, demonstrating that it is actually easy and safe cave, just as cavers have maintained all along. The media folks often are not interested in reporting facts that may make the story less dramatic. Drama is what sells.

Caving itself is quite safe, as we all know intuitively, with fewer than 40 rescue incidents and only 2-3 fatalities per year in "dry caving", on the average, with an estimated 100,000 active cavers in the USA. When you factor in the cave diving incidents it looks a little more dangerous, because while there are not as many of those they are almost all fatalities. But it is still safer than many other accepted outdoor activities. [source: ACA records for 1960-1009]

Caving just has a bad image in the media, perhaps because of the cultural memory of the Floyd Collins incident and various mine disasters. As with shark attacks, the public perception of the risk is greatly exaggerated by the emotional response to the gruesomeness of the result. The NSS should be working to counteract that and to get the facts to the media and the public, and especially to the authorities.

The NSS needs a public relations person to represent it in situations like this, and to provide accurate and timely information on caves, caving, and caving-related issues that come up, whether it's WNS or a rescue. We should be proactive in that regard.
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Re: Another rescue in progress at Utah's Nutty Putty Cave

Postby Bill Putnam » Dec 1, 2009 3:12 pm

graveleye wrote:
DeanWiseman wrote:With all due respect to the people directly impacted by Mr. Jones' death, I think this is a situation where the NSS as a national organization needed to weigh in as a part of the public debate.

-Dean

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In a way that's what we are doing here.

Not exactly, Kevin. We're discussing it amongst ourselves on an Internet forum frequented primarily by cavers. I think Dean was talking about someone representing the NSS contacting the media, and possibly the authorities involved in this incident, to provide them with some more accurate information about caves, caving, and cave rescues. I also feel that should have been done.

Some of the reporters apparently contacted American Caving Accidents editor Ray Keeler with questions, since he is quoted in some of the articles. I used to get calls like that sometimes when I was the editor. I don't know what Ray told them, but what they reported was inaccurate and incomplete. For example, they did not mention the death of James Mitchell in Schroeders Pants Cave NY and the fact that his body was left in the cave for decades until subsequent retrieval fairly recently. There was a passing reference to Indiana caver Chris Yeager's death in Cueve Cheve (Mexico) but they did not mention that while Chris' body was initially left in the cave it was subsequently removed from the cave by cavers from the US and Mexico and returned to his family.

I have dealt with reporters a number of times in my caving career, and have found that they do want to be accurate, but are often more concerned with being on deadline. And many times their editors cut out essential information without realizing that it distorts the story.

It's difficult to get the accurate information into print. That's why it takes some skill to be a PR person. You have to know more than just the answer to the question - you have to understand why they are asking it and what they really want to know, how to answer in a way that will be meaningful and understandable to the readers, and how to answer in a way that will make it into the story unaltered.

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

Postby graveleye » Dec 1, 2009 4:56 pm

Bill Putnam wrote: We're discussing it amongst ourselves on an Internet forum frequented primarily by cavers.


Of course, you are correct, but I have seen posts on this thread quoted in other places on the internet regarding this incident, so we do reach pretty far whether we know it or not. Unfortunately, not always the right people.
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Re: Another rescue in progress at Utah's Nutty Putty Cave

Postby pub » Dec 1, 2009 6:12 pm

Phil Winkler wrote:There is no evidence in the membership database that John Jones is or was an NSS member.

However, there is a conception that he was...
So, I got a little more reliable information this morning. My dad is heavily involved in the caving community, and he got the story from folks that were there. First, the victim was an experienced caver and an NSS member. He was the real deal, but he made a couple mistakes that cost him his life. -source of quote
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First-hand report from John's caving companion

Postby pub » Dec 1, 2009 6:19 pm

A first-hand report from Joe Stocking who was with John when he was stuck:
We had a map of the cave and got to a part where we couldn't find where it continued, so we each took a route that looked like it could be the right way. It is this part of the story that I keep recalling over and over in my head, because at this point I asked John if he wanted to explore the spot, which we later would learn is called the "Ed's Push" area. He went in to the spot face first because he was climbing up, but then it curved and started heading downwards, then it got too small for him to push himself backwards up against gravity, so he slid down further and became wedged. - Joe Stocking's blog
Balincaguin comes from the Zambal phrase, "Bali lan caguing" meaning "house of bats."
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Re: Another rescue in progress at Utah's Nutty Putty Cave

Postby Evan G » Dec 1, 2009 6:25 pm

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. I have personally never work in a Non-profit executive position but I have been and still hold executive positions in an S and C corporate structures. Personally it does not make sense to splinter the process but to objectively coordinate the ideas, values, & ethics through the office of President in which at that time can be deferred and directed. If a President cannot achieve this ability in leadership then it should be noted by the membership. IMHO-When a President becomes a figurehead and management runs ideas, values, & ethics of the embodiment of a corporate structure you get overt infighting and a spiral degradation because inability to resolve problems/conflict then come to decisive resolution.

As an ex-member of the NSS (#28685) one thing I do know about rescue cavers that are NCRC trained, wilderness EMT's, and cavers that show up on a rescue. They unequivocally and passionately do everything they can to save lives. My hard hat and lamp is off to thank the people whom tried so hard and to the family of the John Jones.
Last edited by Evan G on Dec 1, 2009 6:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Another rescue in progress at Utah's Nutty Putty Cave

Postby ArCaver » Dec 1, 2009 6:31 pm

Bill Putnam wrote:...with an estimated 100,000 active cavers in the USA...


I've often wondered how many. I seem to remember 12,000 NSS members. Where does the 100,000 estimate come from?

Bill Putnam wrote:...Caving just has a bad image in the media, perhaps because of the cultural memory of the Floyd Collins incident and various mine disasters...


Dealing with the public I like to ask a few reiterate questions. One is how many have ever heard of Floyd and his unfortunate situation. Nobody, nada, zip. He's forgotten by the non-caving public even though there were several articles written on the incident a few years ago for one of the anniversaries of his death(75years, 80years?). Mine disasters on the other hand are always equated with caves and caving.

Bill Putnam wrote:The NSS needs a public relations person to represent it in situations like this, and to provide accurate and timely information on caves, caving, and caving-related issues that come up, whether it's WNS or a rescue. We should be proactive in that regard.


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

Postby ArCaver » Dec 1, 2009 6:37 pm

At least some of the public now knows it's not a unanimous decision.
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Re: Another rescue in progress at Utah's Nutty Putty Cave

Postby Evan G » Dec 1, 2009 7:33 pm

ArCaver wrote:At least some of the public now knows it's not a unanimous decision.
http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=8865312



Again, if you read the article it shows a lack of consolidated leadership within the NSS and the lack of National part of the NSS to work with local grotto's in time of crisis. Instead of the ability to help the local grottos and persons involved in the creation of a press release which would helped in showing that the NSS as a whole is valued asset to the country (which is national) not only in rescue but the toward WNS problem. My question to the National level of the NSS aka the BOG and Office of the President of the NSS which the reply should stated in another part of the forum,"What if this happened in TAG?" Would it have been different in the response of the "NSS" not the rescue part of it.

My vote for the new NSS Office........Missouri
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Re: Another rescue in progress at Utah's Nutty Putty Cave

Postby pub » Dec 1, 2009 7:40 pm

ArCaver wrote:[One is how many have ever heard of Floyd and his unfortunate situation. Nobody, nada, zip. He's forgotten by the non-caving public even though there were several articles written on the incident a few years ago for one of the anniversaries of his death(75years, 80years?).
His story is now being re-told:
In 1925, from Feb. 3 to Feb. 19, The Salt Lake Tribune carried articles at the top of the front page chronicling a desperate struggle to free Floyd Collins from his entrapment in Sand Cave, adjacent to what is now Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky. The Salt Lake Tribune
Balincaguin comes from the Zambal phrase, "Bali lan caguing" meaning "house of bats."
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Re: Another rescue in progress at Utah's Nutty Putty Cave

Postby DeanWiseman » Dec 1, 2009 7:56 pm

ArCaver wrote: One is how many have ever heard of Floyd and his unfortunate situation. Nobody, nada, zip. He's forgotten by the non-caving public even though there were several articles written on the incident a few years ago for one of the anniversaries of his death(75years, 80years?).


Well... you may or may not be totally correct. In fact, there was also a musical on Broadway about Floyd Collins, and certainly the people in and around the Mammoth Cave area know of him. But like many famous figures, the details will fade, or will be exaggerated.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floyd_Collins
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