Crews prepare for cave rescues at Hannibal’s Mark Twain Cave

HANNIBAL, Mo. – Rescue teams in Missouri say they’re prepared if they’re called upon to perform a cave rescue similar to the recent one involving a Thai soccer team.

“There are 260 passageways inside of the cave so it’s very easy to get lost,” a tour guide at Hannibal’s Mark Twain cave recently told WGEM.

“I saw so many different exits and entrances, and it was crazy,” said Dan Piddington, a visitor from Springfield, Mo.  Piddington’s family has explored multiple caves throughout the country and they understand how dangerous it can be.

“I wouldn’t let my kids go into a cave by themselves,” said Piddington.

Once a year, Hannibal firefighters say they focus their training on cave rescues. “They can be very, very challenging depending on the conditions underground within that cave,” said Shane Jaeger with the Hannibal Fire Department.

Jaeger says he understands people like to explore caves on their own.  His advice is to “seek some very professional training and people to help guide you through your first couple times that you do it.  You’re gonna have multiple light sources. You’re gonna have food and water with you, and you’re gonna be prepared for that unknown.”

Piddington says he’s only ever explored one cave on his own, and says you have to be careful.

“It is scary and especially because it’s so dark that it’s so easy to get lost.”