THE WALKER COUNTY CAVE RESCUE TEAM BROUGHT THE BODIES OF TWO COLLEGE STUDENTS OUT OF ELLISON’S CAVE NEAR LAFAYETTE, SATURDAY NIGHT.

THE TWO WERE EXPLORING THE CAVE WITH A GROUP OF FRIENDS… ALL FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA.  DAVID ASHBURN SAID THE TROUBLE STARTED WHEN ONE OF THE CAVERS GOT TANGLED IN A ROPE WHILE REPELLING INTO THE 600-FOOT CAVERN.  THE SECOND VICTIM WENT DOWN TO HELP… BUT NEITHER RETURNED.  OTHERS IN THE REPELLING PARTY CALLED FOR HELP AROUND 2:30 SATURDAY AFTERNOON.  

ASHBURN SAID THE VICTIMS WERE NOT DRESSED FOR COLD WEATHER.  WALKER COUNTY CORONER DEWAYNE WILSON SAID IT APPEARS THE TWO YOUNG MEN DIED OF HYPOTHERMIA.  AUTOPSIES WILL BE PERFORMED TO DETERMINE THE EXACT CAUSE.  

ELLISON’S IS THE 12th DEEPEST CAVE IN THE U.S. – LOCATED IN THE CROCKFORD-PIGEON MOUNTAIN WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA AT PIGEON MOUNTAIN.  WALKER COUNTY IS AMONG THE TOP-10 DESTINATIONS FOR CAVING IN THE COUNTRY.  BOTH OF THE VICTIMS HAD BEEN IN ELLISON’S CAVE BEFORE, ACCORDING TO FRIENDS IN THEIR PARTY.