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Caves closed forever after number of horrific cases of people being buried alive

Jess Battison

| Last updated 

Caving and serious spelunking (exploring caves) are definitely not sports to just do for a bit of fun.

Indeed, the thought of having to crawl around super tight, super dark and usually super cold spaces just does not sound appealing to me. But it turns out the thrill and high-stakes nature of the sport does tempt many other people into trying it.

Naturally, not all caves are incredibly dangerous, but there’s one set that’s been closed off forever because of tragedies that have taken place within them.

The Nutty Putty Caves were once a popular spot for caving. That was until too many people started getting buried alive there.


They ended up being sealed off with concrete following the death of experienced spelunker, John Edward Jones, in 2009.

John Edward Jones was trapped inside the Nutty Putty Cave in Utah. Credit: Family handout
John Edward Jones was trapped inside the Nutty Putty Cave in Utah. Credit: Family handout

He became stuck upside down in a particularly dangerous part of the cave known as the 'birth canal'. After being stuck for 24 hours, he eventually stopped breathing and became unresponsive after each breath drew him deeper into the wedge.

Found south of Salt Lake City in Utah, USA, the perilous cave got its name from the soft, putty-like texture of the calyx inside it.


Before the main closure after Jones’ death, Nutty Putty Cave had been temporarily closed to ensure that proper safety precautions were put in place for anyone seeking to risk taking a trip down into it.

But despite the horrific death, when the caves were closed once again in November of that year, many cavers were angry at the decision.

Some cavers had even broken through the gate to get in, so after Jones’ death, it was sealed off with concrete and explosives.

The entrance to the cave. Credit: YouTube /  Fascinating Horror
The entrance to the cave. Credit: YouTube / Fascinating Horror

It was then agreed that the cave would be be sealed off - partly due to safety concerns - and also because extracting Jones' body would be too dangerous.

There had been a number of other cases of people getting stuck in there prior to his death.

In 2004, a 16-year-old boy was rescued after being trapped upside down for nearly 14 hours.

He had been leading his friends through the cave and spotted a small opening that seemed to descend.


His mother told the Daily Herald: “He started crawling through that and he slipped and started falling. His head was down and he was upside down in what is not a very big area. He thought the area continued, but it didn’t.”

The boy was stuck upside down and ‘folded in half’. After a lot of pain and a long rescue mission, his mum said she ‘wouldn’t be surprised if he goes back’.

But that definitely isn’t possible anymore with Nutty Putty Caves now sealed, becoming a tomb and memorial to the unfortunate death of Jones.

Topics: Sport, US News, YouTube

Jess Battison
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