IU spelunking club suspended after student is locked in cave for 60 hours


File photo of cave

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind.— Indiana University has suspended its student spelunking club pending an investigation into how a freshman was locked inside a cave for 60 hours.

University officials announced Monday that the Office of Student Conduct is conducting an investigation into how 19-year-old Lukas Cavar became trapped inside Sullivan Cave with no food or fresh water, The Herald-Times reported .

Lukas Cavar sent FOX59 this picture of himself after he was rescued from the cave.

Cavar was on a beginner’s spelunking trip with the Caving Club on Sept. 17 when he was separated from the group. He then discovered the gate at the cave’s entrance was padlocked and that the other 12 club members were unaware he was still inside.

Cavar, of Bloomington, had no cellphone service in the cave. He tried but failed to pick the gate’s lock with a paper clip and he yelled for hours trying to attract the attention of motorists on a road a few hundred feet away, but to no avail. With few resources with him, Cavar even resorted to licking moisture from the cave’s stone walls to keep from getting dehydrated.

Two club leaders returned to the cave and rescued Cavar on Sept. 19 after learning that his parents had filed a missing person report with university police.

The club leaders also contacted the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department and Indiana Department of Natural Resources for assistance that night, said university spokesman Ryan Piurek.

The club’s student leaders and faculty adviser are looking for ways to change the club’s procedures to make sure a similar incident doesn’t happen again, said Assistant Dean of Students Steve Veldkamp. The club has been active on campus since the 1950s, he said.

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