Conservation officers rescue man, woman after being trapped in Donnehue Cave since Tuesday

BEDFORD, Ind. – Indiana Conservation Officers made a heroic rescue Friday morning after two people were trapped inside Donnehue Cave for over two days.

At around 10:45 a.m., authorities were notified of a missing person search after reports of a man, identified as Joshua Patton, 31, of Bedford, that may have entered the Doghill-Donnehue Cave system in Bedford.

The Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department initiated the search for Patton after family members were unable to make contact with him since Tuesday evening.

Authorities entered the cave at around 11:50 a.m. and conducted a search of both the upper “maze” portion of the cave, as well as the lower stream passage.

At 12:05 p.m., responders made contact with Patton and a female, identified as Samantha East, 38, of Bedford. They were reportedly located approximately 2000 feet inside the cave.

Patton told authorities the pair entered the cave at around 6:15 p.m. on Tuesday night. They were using only cell phone light to navigate the cave’s passages. After their phone was damaged, they said lighters were used as a light source until they ran out of fuel.

The two then stopped and waited in total darkness until they were rescued.

Patton and East were treated inside the cave for hypothermia, dehydration and exhaustion. They were transported to IU Health in Bedford for further evaluation.

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