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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    5,077

    NY- Cave Explorer's Body to be recovered after 41 years...

    Man Seeks Caver's Body After 41 Years
    By JOHN KEKIS, AP

    DOLGEVILLE, N.Y. (June 22) - Forty-one years ago, rescuers couldn't get the body of James Mitchell out of the cave where he died. Workers dynamited the cave, sealed it with rocks, placed a memorial headstone above it and left him dangling in his harness, 60 feet above the cave floor.

    Mitchell's story drove spelunkers to get more serious about safety, and would later intrigue a boy whose grandfather discovered the cave in the Adirondack foothills. On Saturday that boy, now grown, intends to give that story a real ending.

    "He needs a proper burial," said Christian Lyon, 36, who has the blessing of Mitchell's family and local officials to recover his body, and will be filming the event for a documentary.His work will finally lay to rest a 23-year-old Massachusetts chemist still remembered with an annual award from the National Speleological Society for outstanding scientific papers.

    The high-profile rescue effort, by an inexperienced crew from hundreds of miles away, led cavers to form rescue teams around the world.Mitchell had come to Dolgeville, some 200 miles northwest of New York City, on Feb. 13, 1965, to explore Schroeder's Pants Cave with two friends from the Boston Grotto Club - Hedy Miller, a nurse, and Charles Bennett, a graduate student at Harvard.

    In preparation, Mitchell visited Lyon's grandfather, George Lyon, who had discovered the cave with Herb Schroeder in 1947. But no one warned Mitchell and his friends that temperatures earlier that week had hovered around freezing, creating more runoff than usual. Ice-cold water was pouring through the cave's passageways.

    Mitchell, then Miller and Bennett, inched through sections named by previous cavers - Lemon Squeeze, Z-bend, Gunbarrel - until they reached an open area. There, they stared down a vertical shaft that extended to a bell-shaped cavern about 80 feet below.

    Despite the frigid water cascading around them, Mitchell hooked his safety lines and started down. Then he stopped."Something went wrong," Miller told reporters afterward. "He tried to wiggle lower and then could not move. He tried to pull himself up on the rope with one hand, but his hand kept slipping."

    About 10 gallons of icy water were pouring on his head every minute."He told me not to worry, that he'd get out. Later on, he could not talk at all," Miller said.

    After 45 frantic minutes trying to lift Mitchell to safety, Bennett left the cave to find help. And when the newly formed National Capital Grotto Rescue Squad flew in from Washington, D.C., on Air Force 2, the story became front-page news.

    Doug Bradford was among the six young men on the rescue team, which had virtually no experience."We had done a lot of practicing, but boy, was that little cave tight," Bradford said. "The first thing we did was try to haul him up. We got hold of him, and it was clear he was lifeless and wasn't going to help us much. It wasn't long before we figured out he was dead."

    Rescuers glumly turned to recovery of the 5-foot-11, 185-pound Mitchell's remains."We worked on some of the narrow places for three days and were going nowhere, so we mapped the cave," Bradford said. "They drilled a test hole where he had been hanging and did some more heavy drilling. But when we went down to rig him for extrication, part of the cave collapsed. Dirt was coming down the shaft. We had to get the hell out of there."

    The rescue effort was halted on the sixth day.

    Two years later, a different opening to the cave was discovered, and about 20 people have since made their way inside to Mitchell's eerie resting place. His skeleton lies at the bottom of a 75-foot dropoff under the shaft.Crews will use that entrance Saturday. Neither Bennett nor Miller will be there and Mitchell's 89-year-old father is not well enough to make the trip. Mitchell's brother, Bill, will represent the family.

    Bennett, now 63 and a scientist with IBM, declined to comment out of deference to the Mitchell family and his desire to leave that tragic day in the past. Miller lives in Denmark and does not speak publicly of Mitchell's death.

    The remains will be given to a local coroner and state officials for examination before being cremated. Some of his ashes will be given to the family and the rest will be buried near the cave.

    Bradford, now 60 and semi-retired in Georgia, is making the long drive north."I'm looking at it as an opportunity to take care of unfinished business, but I'm skeptical," he said. "I'm going to reserve judgment on what we're going to find. I sure hope there's something we can give his dad."

    06/22/06 14:47 EDT

    Source:
    AOL News - Man Seeks Caver's Body After 41 Years

    Link:
    http://articles.news.aol.com/news/ar...00010000000001

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    5,077

    James Mitchell, NY cave explorer, lost in 1965: body to be recovered...

    Man Seeks Caver's Body After 41 Years
    By JOHN KEKIS, AP

    DOLGEVILLE, N.Y. (June 22) - Forty-one years ago, rescuers couldn't get the body of James Mitchell out of the cave where he died. Workers dynamited the cave, sealed it with rocks, placed a memorial headstone above it and left him dangling in his harness, 60 feet above the cave floor.

    Mitchell's story drove spelunkers to get more serious about safety, and would later intrigue a boy whose grandfather discovered the cave in the Adirondack foothills. On Saturday that boy, now grown, intends to give that story a real ending.

    "He needs a proper burial," said Christian Lyon, 36, who has the blessing of Mitchell's family and local officials to recover his body, and will be filming the event for a documentary.His work will finally lay to rest a 23-year-old Massachusetts chemist still remembered with an annual award from the National Speleological Society for outstanding scientific papers.

    The high-profile rescue effort, by an inexperienced crew from hundreds of miles away, led cavers to form rescue teams around the world.Mitchell had come to Dolgeville, some 200 miles northwest of New York City, on Feb. 13, 1965, to explore Schroeder's Pants Cave with two friends from the Boston Grotto Club - Hedy Miller, a nurse, and Charles Bennett, a graduate student at Harvard.

    In preparation, Mitchell visited Lyon's grandfather, George Lyon, who had discovered the cave with Herb Schroeder in 1947. But no one warned Mitchell and his friends that temperatures earlier that week had hovered around freezing, creating more runoff than usual. Ice-cold water was pouring through the cave's passageways.

    Mitchell, then Miller and Bennett, inched through sections named by previous cavers - Lemon Squeeze, Z-bend, Gunbarrel - until they reached an open area. There, they stared down a vertical shaft that extended to a bell-shaped cavern about 80 feet below.

    Despite the frigid water cascading around them, Mitchell hooked his safety lines and started down. Then he stopped."Something went wrong," Miller told reporters afterward. "He tried to wiggle lower and then could not move. He tried to pull himself up on the rope with one hand, but his hand kept slipping."

    About 10 gallons of icy water were pouring on his head every minute."He told me not to worry, that he'd get out. Later on, he could not talk at all," Miller said.

    After 45 frantic minutes trying to lift Mitchell to safety, Bennett left the cave to find help. And when the newly formed National Capital Grotto Rescue Squad flew in from Washington, D.C., on Air Force 2, the story became front-page news.

    Doug Bradford was among the six young men on the rescue team, which had virtually no experience."We had done a lot of practicing, but boy, was that little cave tight," Bradford said. "The first thing we did was try to haul him up. We got hold of him, and it was clear he was lifeless and wasn't going to help us much. It wasn't long before we figured out he was dead."

    Rescuers glumly turned to recovery of the 5-foot-11, 185-pound Mitchell's remains."We worked on some of the narrow places for three days and were going nowhere, so we mapped the cave," Bradford said. "They drilled a test hole where he had been hanging and did some more heavy drilling. But when we went down to rig him for extrication, part of the cave collapsed. Dirt was coming down the shaft. We had to get the hell out of there."

    The rescue effort was halted on the sixth day.

    Two years later, a different opening to the cave was discovered, and about 20 people have since made their way inside to Mitchell's eerie resting place. His skeleton lies at the bottom of a 75-foot dropoff under the shaft.Crews will use that entrance Saturday. Neither Bennett nor Miller will be there and Mitchell's 89-year-old father is not well enough to make the trip. Mitchell's brother, Bill, will represent the family.

    Bennett, now 63 and a scientist with IBM, declined to comment out of deference to the Mitchell family and his desire to leave that tragic day in the past. Miller lives in Denmark and does not speak publicly of Mitchell's death.

    The remains will be given to a local coroner and state officials for examination before being cremated. Some of his ashes will be given to the family and the rest will be buried near the cave.

    Bradford, now 60 and semi-retired in Georgia, is making the long drive north."I'm looking at it as an opportunity to take care of unfinished business, but I'm skeptical," he said. "I'm going to reserve judgment on what we're going to find. I sure hope there's something we can give his dad."

    06/22/06 14:47 EDT

    Source:
    AOL News - Man Seeks Caver's Body After 41 Years

    Link:
    http://articles.news.aol.com/news/ar...00010000000001

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Southern New Jersey
    Posts
    736
    That is amazing! Good for Lyon!! I wish him the best of luck!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    missouri
    Posts
    651
    The search and recovery is over!

    http://www.boston.com/news/nation/ar...fter_41_years/

    I hope the family finds peace.
    Old Broad
    this is just my opinion, it may be wrong, user beware!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    West "By God" Virginia
    Posts
    538
    I saw somewhere where that they have got the remain's out of the cave..They found his helmet too if iam not mistaken it had 16 line's cut in it for the 16 different cave's he had explored before this cave..

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    5,077

    Articles about 2006 Recovery Effort

    Decades later, effort revived to retrieve body from cave shaft
    By Mac Daniel, Globe Staff
    June 20, 2006

    James Mitchell was a 23-year-old chemist from Winthrop whose death made national headlines in February 1965 when he died of exposure while exploring a cave in central New York.

    After being lowered into a narrow 75-foot-deep shaft by two friends, Mitchell somehow got stuck in a stream of frigid water flowing at 10 gallons per minute as his two friends from Cambridge tried frantically to help.

    Days later, after a rescue team was flown from Washington on the vice president's jet, efforts to retrieve Mitchell's body had failed, and the cave was blasted shut in the young spelunker's honor.

    But the many limestone entrances to the cave, about 20 miles east of Utica, N.Y., were never fully closed, leaving Mitchell's body without a private resting place for the past 40 years.

    Now, Christian Lyon, 36, an actor from Los Angeles and the son of the local Dolgeville, N.Y., mayor, has returned to not only retrieve Mitchell's body, but also make a documentary about Mitchell's death and the recovery, which is planned for this weekend.

    `` I want to do justice by Jim," Lyon said from Dolgeville yesterday. ``I was not alive when this happened, but for some reason he matters to me."
    Mitchell mattered to a lot of people, especially cave explorers. His death was a milestone in the spelunking world, with rescue teams forming around the world after his much-publicized tragedy. In fact, the National Speleological Society in Washington gives a James Mitchell Award for outstanding scientific papers.

    On Feb. 13, 1965, Mitchell, Hedy Miller, and Charles Bennett, all friends from the Boston Grotto of the National Speleological Society, set out to explore Schroeder's Pants Cave.

    Mitchell, attached to a nylon rope, descended more than 60 feet in the cave toward a pit Lyon said is big enough to fit a house in. Press reports said that, exhausted from walking nearly a mile to the cave in knee-deep snow and crawling through parts of the cavern 18 inches high, Mitchell was unable to make it back to Miller and Bennett and became stuck 10 to 15 feet below his partners as frigid water washed over him.

    He was declared dead about a day later, and $500,000 was spent in an effort to retrieve the body.

    Charles Bennett, now 63 and a scientist with IBM, declined to comment on the recovery, saying he did not wish to ``contribute to publicity which might be unwelcome to the survivors." He added that Mitchell's death served as a wake-up call to the caving community about the dangers of hypothermia.

    Mitchell's family is from Waterville, Ohio, and when contacted by Lyon about the rescue, they approved of the project and said they hoped to bring the remains home. The family would only agree to work with Lyon if they were not contacted by the press, he said.

    Lyon said members of the original rescue team and Mitchell's family will gather in Dolgeville on Friday and begin the private rescue on Saturday, led by a caver who has been inside the cave, which is said to be one of the trickiest in the Northeast.

    Once recovered, the remains will be passed over to the New York State doctor of forensics who, with the local coroner, will bring the remains to a local morgue for examination.

    James Mitchell's remains will be cremated, with some of his ashes given to family members and the rest buried near the site of the cave, where the Lyon family placed a marker years ago marking the tragedy, which affected that family as well. Lyon's grandfather discovered the cave in 1947, and the marker and cave are on family property.

    ``It's going to probably be overwhelming for me, but also a great sense of relief and closure," Lyon said. ``If my documentary and the book I plan on writing never see the light of day, and my only success is that I retrieved Jim's remains, then that will still be one of the greatest moments of my life."


    Full Article: Boston, Massachusetts, USA
    http://www.boston.com/
    Direct Link
    http://tinyurl.com/kbyrm
    -----------------------------------------------------------------

    Mitchell’s remains to be exhumed from Schroeder’s Pants Cave
    By ROB JUTEAU Evening Times Staff Writer (Tues., June 20)
    Published: Tuesday, June 20, 2006 12:22 PM CDT

    DOLGEVILLE — The remains of James Gentry Mitchell have been entombed in Schroeder’s Pants Cave for 41 years.

    The 23-year-old spelunker lost his life after he became stuck in a vertical shaft about 235 feet from the entrance of the cave located in the town of Manheim. The attempted rescue and recovery effort, led by the National Capital Grotto Rescue Squad, captured national media attention as it seemed as though all of America was engrossed by the happenings that occurred during a frigid February in New York. Cold temperatures, a snowstorm and cave-ins made the rescue hazardous and success doubtful, and as a result, the decision was made to halt the effort.
    “Based on what the experts tell me, they went in to get his body, but rocks started falling in on them,” Christian Lyon, a Dolgeville native who now lives in Los Angeles, said. “They were a foot away from hitting home, but they thought the cave was collapsing, and they got out.”

    Lyon and a team of spelunkers from around the country will attempt to write a new ending for the 41-year-old story on Saturday as they will endeavor to retrieve Mitchell’s remains from the shaft. The latest recovery effort is the culmination of three years of organization and research.
    “I have always been fascinated by the story,” Lyon said. “I can remember looking through my father’s scrapbooks of the incident from the time I was little, and every couple of years I would find myself looking at the books again. For some reason I am attached to the story.”


    Full Article: Herkimer County, NY, USA
    http://www.littlefallstimes.com/arti...news/news2.txt
    ------------------------------------------------------

    Website which has a discussion thread on this effort:

    U.S. Cavers Forum - caversforum.org - 1965 Schroeder’s Pants Cave

    http://nssmembersforum.proboards28.c...1051018&page=2

    -----------------------------------------



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