A veteran spelunker who's been in the nation's deepest cave since she broke her leg Sunday said Wednesday that the ordeal would not deter her zest for exploring caves.
"There's no way this is going to slow me down at all," Emily Davis Mobley said in the five-minute news conference by telephone.Mobley, who broke her left leg two miles into the cave, said she's comfortable.
"This cave rescue couldn't be run better. . . . I'm not being treated like a package. I'm being treated like a person," she said.
Mobley, 40, said she's happy that everyone is concerned about the cave as well as her welfare. She said she's glad rescuers are using routes and methods to minimize any damage to the sometimes fragile formations in Lechuguilla Cave.
Mobley said she was introduced to cave exploring in 1969 by a friend at the University of Denver.
"The first time I went caving, I thought it was the most exciting thing I've ever done," she said. "Ever since then, caving has been a major part of my life."
Rescuers talked to her by telephone after stringing a line into the cave, and she asked for a pizza and a hairbrush. Rescuers have been sending food and painkillers to Mobley, and a doctor was among several people with her.
"She told us everything was going well," Jeff Denny, park ranger, said. "She told us to be cool on top."
The rescue, which probably won't be completed before Thursday or Friday, has drawn top cave experts from all over the United States.
The giant step Tuesday placed her nearly halfway to open air, or 11/4 miles from the cave entrance, which has been rigged with ropes and pulleys to hoist her. She was 700 feet down, compared to about 1,000 feet when she was injured.
David Modisette and other rescuers Wednesday planned to use boulders wedged into the rift as stepping stones while inching Mobley through the L-shaped fracture by passing her on a stretcher from one person to the next.
He said the relay would require "muscling her through the rough parts."