Rescuers free man stuck overnight in Iowa cave

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By TIMBERLY ROSS, Associated Press

An Illinois man was trapped for more than 20 hours in a cave at an Iowa state park before being rescued Saturday.

Iowa Department of Natural Resources spokesman Kevin Baskins said Logan Eliasen, 20, of Port Byron, Ill., was dislodged from a narrow part of Wye Cave at Maquoketa Caves State Park about 3:30 p.m. Saturday. He'd been stuck there since 6:45 p.m. Friday.

Baskins said Eliasen was given oxygen and an IV to prevent dehydration as crews chiseled away rock to widen the path. He was taken from the scene to a Maquoketa hospital. A spokeswoman there said she couldn't release his condition.

Park Ranger Scot Dykstra said visitors discovered two people lodged in the cave about 8 p.m. Friday and alerted park staff. Dykstra said they became stuck while crawling through a narrow part of the cave.

Rescue crews from Maquoketa and Quad Cities were able to free the woman, identified as 20-year-old Emma Thomson of Port Byron, Ill., about 11:40 p.m. Friday. She was treated at the scene for minor injuries, Baskins said.

The 323-acre state park is northwest of Maquoketa, about halfway between Des Moines and Chicago. It features more than a dozen caves visitors can explore on their own, either by walking or crawling, based on their own ability and comfort level, according to the park website.

Baskins said he's not sure whether the man was experienced in cave exploration.

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