Multiple organizations pull together in Georgia teen’s safe rescue from Jackson Co. cave Saturday

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SCOTTSBORO, Ala, (WHNT) — A 15-year-old girl from Georgia is recovering from a broken ankle after a boulder rolled  on her foot while exploring a Jackson County cave Saturday. The rescue operation took many hands and organizations, and it’s something the local squad sees several times a year.

“Saturday afternoon, a little after five, there was a caving accident at Tumbling Rock Cave in the Hollywood area,” explains Eddie Tigue with the Scottsboro Jackson County Rescue Squad, “We in turn called Chattanooga-Hamilton County Rescue Squad and Huntsville Cave Rescue Unit.”

A group of people were exploring the cave when a large boulder rolled on 15-year-old Morgan Smith’s foot, injuring her and leading to a several hour rescue.

After about nine hours, the teen was eventually carried out to safety.

For the Scottsboro Jackson County Rescue Squad, this type of rescue happens several times a year. “There’s a large number of caves in Jackson County, in our coverage area,” explains Tigue.

The group calls on other organizations trained in cave rescues for help when needed, and also  trains for those type of situations. “We take caving classes and we take rope rescue classes, and we really depend on Chattanooga-Hamilton County, and Huntsville,” Tigue says.

He says at times, an organization from Georgia has responded to help during rescues.

The rescue squad has about 40 volunteers, so calling on other organizations trained in these rescues is a help. “There are some small caves, and some really large caves, and it takes a lot of folks to perform these rescues,” Tigue said.

The situations range from minor injuries to visitors who get lost.

The rescue squad also responds to situations at other popular outdoor destinations in the county, like Walls of Jericho and Buck’s Pocket, where it also takes a large group of individuals – mostly volunteers – to achieve a safe end to the rescue.

Tigue says the organization is grateful for the other entities that helped in the weekend’s rescue.