A 16-year-old Orem boy has been hospitalized in stable condition after spending the night wedged between a rock and a hard place.
Brock Clark was the lead spelunker exploring the Nutty Putty Cave with at least five other youths, about seven miles west of Utah Lake in southwest Utah County on Friday, Sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Cannon said.
Clark ascended into a narrow, vertical cave head first and became stuck upside down, Cannon said. It took rescuers nearly 10 hours to extract him from his precarious position. Then it took another two hours to help him recuperate enough from a weakened condition to get him down to his parents, Cannon said.
About 20 rescuers used ropes and patience once he was free of the cave's grasp to walk him down to a waiting ambulance where emergency medical technicians with the Eureka ambulance service evaluated him.
Clark's mother, Holly Clark, told the Associated Press Saturday that he was wedged in the narrow cave with his left leg behind him, and that his blood circulation was affected all along his left side.
Clark is being treated at Mountainview Hospital in Payson and will remain there until he regains his strength, his mother said.
"We wiggled, pulled and pushed a millimeter at a time. It was very fatiguing to him," Cannon said.
Holly Clark said her son was having difficulty straightening the leg. "He's doing surprisingly well," she said. Brock is strong, she said, but had been scared during the ordeal. "Who wouldn't be, trapped like that?" she said.
The cave, which has a near-vertical entry before leveling, is popular with spelunkers. Cannon said rescuers get called a couple of times a year to pull people out. "There are some fairly steep and difficult areas," in the cave, he said.Clark would like to go into the cave to see where her boy got stuck. "Groups go in all the time," she said. "I think he just got to a little dead end and didn't realize it."
Contributing: Associated Press