(WCYB/NBC News) — Six men went into Virginia’s Cyclops Cave Friday not knowing conditions would leave them stranded inside.
One man was able to scale the cave with his bare hands and call 911 for help.
Crews from four states gathered to rescue the five still inside.
Hypothermia and extreme exhaustion prevented them from being able to climb out.
“As that exhaustion and the hypothermia progressed they are going to run into more and more problems having the energy to move and get out of the cave on their own.,” said Virginia Department of Emergency Management search and rescue specialist, William Chrimes.
Sixteen hours after the rescue operation began, and 47 hours after the men entered the cave, the last was lifted to safety.