MU student in fair condition after fall at Devil’s Icebox

COLUMBIA — MU student (//////) fell about 25 feet into the Devil’s Icebox Cave just before 4 p.m. on Tuesday.

The student, 18, had been walking with friends in Rock Bridge Memorial State Park when he went off the boardwalk to “explore on his own,” his friend said. He was climbing the fence to get back onto the boardwalk when he slipped and fell into the fissure that leads into the cave.

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Even though I knew I was going to report an accident, it was strange to see Rockbridge Park filled with sirens and flashing lights.

I so often go there for pleasure that I was drawn to the story immediately, volunteered to be the one to run down there and see what was up with the “kid who fell” at the Devil’s Icebox.

As I pulled up, they were coming out of the woods with a backboard. As I ran up to the scene, they were shutting the ambulance doors.

I spoke to his friends and his girlfriend, and from what I could tell, the one who fell had been pretty lucky, all things considered. Walking off the path, he slipped while climbing a fence and fell backwards into the vertical opening of the cave.

There are rocks down there, and cold running water.

But the girlfriend said she went down there and got him, and the two managed to get up the stairs before the ambulance arrived. He was conscious, and talking to them. They said he was in pain, and I saw blood on his girlfriend’s jacket.

It could have been a lot worse.