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HomeNewsWoman Exploring Virginia Cave Falls 100 Feet to Her Death 

Woman Exploring Virginia Cave Falls 100 Feet to Her Death 

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An Accident Scene
Source: ABC7NY/X

It was a sad evening in Giles County, Virginia, on January 12, 2024. At 4:10 p.m., a report came to authorities that a woman had fallen 100 feet to her death in a cave. 

The Giles County Sheriff’s Office officials received the shocking news through their 911 dispatch center. The Giles County Emergency Services described the distress call in a released statement to the public. The call reported that a “female individual had fell approximately 100 feet within a cave in the Straffordville Community outside of Pearisburg.” 

It was terrible news, and it alarmed county officials. Immediately, they swung into action, hoping that by a stroke of luck, they could rescue the woman alive. 

The Pearisburg Fire Department and the County Sheriff’s Office were the first responders at the scene. According to the statement, the first responders discovered the need for backup “or additional specialized resources” on getting to the accident scene.

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Not long after, backup arrived. Celco Emergency Response team and Blacksburg Rescue Squad came in on request to lend a helping hand. Unfortunately, the woman had lost her life. 

After the rescue team located her body and pronounced her dead, they began to extricate her corpse from the cave. Moreover, at the time of writing, officials were yet to communicate what had led to the fall. Although investigations were underway. 

The victim was later identified as Nicole Draper, a 38-year-old resident of Fairlawn, Virginia. John Butler, Giles County Emergency Services Coordinator, confirmed her identity to the press. He also disclosed that rescue crews cleared the scene around 1 a.m. on Saturday. 

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Residents of the area expressed deep sadness at the death. People who knew the victim described her as “outgoing” and “very respectful.” 

One of those was Andrew Nunn. He had known Draper for many years and described her as someone who was fascinated by nature. 

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“We used to hang out all the time go hiking and stuff,” Nunn told reporters. “She was really good at hiking, and she really liked hiking.” 

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Although Nunn admitted that he hadn’t seen Draper for quite some time, he said her personality and her kind of spirit were difficult to forget. “She was an outgoing person, very respectful, very ambitious,” he further said. 

Gretchen Baker, National Coordinator for the National Cave Rescue Commission, gave some insight into cave accidents. She described falling as the most common type of injury recorded in cave explorations. 

“The most typical injury we see in caves are lower leg injuries, so sprained ankles or broken lower legs,” she said.

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Baker revealed that cave faults are usually the smaller faults. But in some cases, there could be bigger faults like rock fall. There could also be flooding in caves, amongst all the things that could go wrong. 

Baker advised that people who go caving should go prepared. “Make sure that somebody knows where you’re going and what time you’ll be back,” she warned. 

“Always make sure you’re going camping in a group with a minimum of three people. So if one person does get hurt, someone can stay with the injured person, and someone can go get help,” she said. However, Virginia has over 4000 caves, according to the Commonwealth’s Department of Energy. 

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