An Indiana University college freshman lived out every claustrophobic’s worst nightmares last week when his group spelunking trip ended with being sealed in a cave for nearly 60 hours.
Lukas Cavar, 19, spent three days trapped in a cave awaiting rescue after the other members of the Caving Club left without him. He licked Clif bar wrappers and considered eating crickets to stay alive, the Indiana Daily Student reports. He also composed goodbye notes to his family on his phone.
“I managed to get some water from the cave walls, by basically licking the moisture off the wall,” he remembered to Reuters. “My biggest worry was not making it out alive. I was afraid I would never see my friends or family again.”
The cave entrance is usually locked to stop untrained trespassers from injuring themselves, IDS reports, and the club members locked up after they left.
After his mother reported him missing to the school and the Caving Club president realized he was missing, several club leaders returned to the cave to search for Cavar, who was curled in a ball sleeping by the cave’s entrance. The club leaders brought a big mac and a bowl of pasta to the scene.
“You could tell they were pretty shaken up,” Cavar said. “They did near kill me. I can’t imagine what kind of guilt they felt.”
As for the club, they are reevaluating their protocols to make sure nothing like this ever happens again.
“We have a series of rigorous protocols in place that are supposed to prevent situations like this, but they are only effective if followed,” the club’s president wrote in a statement. “We had a failure in our leadership to closely follow all these safety procedures. The risk that our member was exposed to as a result of these failures is a vivid reminder of why we have protocols.”