Man dies after fall in Valhalla Cave in Jackson County

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A group of five Purdue University students traveled hundreds of miles to explore Valhalla Cave in Jackson County.

"They're all cavers," said Jackson County Sheriff Chuck Phillips. "They do this for fun and sport."

The students camped overnight and woke up early to rappel a 227-foot drop into the cave.

"They were all going to go down in the cave and they were in the pit more-less a vertical drop," said Phillips.

Crews responded to the call around 8:30 a.m. Saturday morning. According to Sheriff Chuck Phillips, 21-year-old Trever Louis Col from Austin, Texas died on impact after falling 200 feet while rappelling.

Sheriff Phillips said the rigging came loose while rappelling due to a knot in the rope, and when Col tried to fix it he fell.

The group had to drive over a mile in order to get service and call emergency crews, according to Phillips.

The sheriff said the recovery took four hours.

Phillips also said each of the students had the proper required permits from the Southeastern Cave Conservancy to enter Valhalla.

Chattanooga Hamilton County Rescue Cave and Cliff Team, Huntsville Cave Rescue Unit, Scottsboro Rescue Squad, and Hollywood Fire responded.

The Jackson County Sheriff's Office said Trever Col's family was contacted. They're headed to Highlands Medical Center in Scottsboro where Col's body is being kept.

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