19-year-old spends 3 days locked in a cave in Indiana after group forgets him

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — A 19-year-old student at Indiana University was rescued on Tuesday after spending 60 hours locked inside a cave, according to the Indiana Daily Student.

Lukas Cavar was on a beginner’s trip with 12 students and two leaders when he was separated from the group, according to WXIN. Cavar was locked behind a gate to the cave’s entrance.

“I was very confused and pretty scared,” Cavar told the paper. “It took me a little while to wrangle my emotions and sort of approach things analytically, sensibly, to come up with a game plan to survive.”

Cavar could not get cell service inside the cave and screamed for help for several hours.

Cavar said he spent most of his time in the cave talking to himself, napping, and foraging for water. He told WXIN he licked moisture on the cave walls to stay hydrated.

“As soon as I noticed the droplets of water on the cave wall, it seemed pretty obvious what I had to do,” Cavar said.

Cavar said that his parents texted him on Monday. When he never responded, they knew something was wrong and they filed a missing persons report. When two members of the caving club found out he was missing, they went back to the cave and rescued him late Tuesday.

Cavar told WXIN doesn’t plan to go spelunking again any time soon.

Cavar posted on Facebook:

“Just wanted to let everyone know that I’m safe and sound! Just got rescued about 30 minutes ago. Boy, it’s good to be back on the surface!”

The club’s president posted a statement on the university’s student intranet:

“We have a series of rigorous protocols in place that are supposed to prevent situations like this, but they are only effective if followed. We had a failure in our leadership to closely follow all these safety procedures. The risk that our member was exposed to as a result of these failures is a vivid reminder of why we have protocols.”