TEX.A.S C.A.v-Eill t November 1971
COVER: Santa Claus coming down the chimney? doing his thing in an Arkansas cave. No. It's Bob Lloyd Photo is by .James Jasek. The TEXAS CAVER is a monthly publication of the Texas Speleological Association, an internal organization of the National Speleological Society, and is published in Euless, Texas. Material for publicatlon should be typed double-spaced and sent to the Editor at 305 Bayless Dr. Euless, Texas 76039 no later than the first of the month of publication. All Grotto news and trip reports should be sent to the Assistant Editor, Mike Moody, at P.O. Box 533, Euless, Texas 76039. Subscriptions are $4.00 per year for 12 issues and all subscriptions begin with the January issue. All requests for subscriptions should be sent to James Jasek at 1213 Melrose, Waco, Texas 76710. Persons subscribing after the first of the year will recieve all back issues for that year. Single copies are available at 40 each postage paid anywhere in the u.s. (c) 1971 by The TEXAS CAVER STAFF Editor----------------Ronnie Fieseler Assistant Editor------Mike Moody General Flunky--------C.A. Vemonger Guest Printers--------Terry Raines (Accident Report), Ronnie Fieseler (Cover page), James Jasek (remainder) Guest Assemblier------James Jasek Distribution----------James Jasek Club Correspondants---Neal Morris (A&I), Scott Harden (AAC), Mike Walsh (STSUG), Karen Lindsley (DFWG), Jack West (Red River), Dwight Deal-Larry Williams (Paisano), C. Edwin Kunath (CV SUCKS) PAGE 209 210 211 214 215 216 217 231 NOTE: THE TEXAS CAVER VOLUME XVI, NUMBER 11 * * CONTENTS NEW TSA CONSTITUTION & BYLAWSA HISTORY by Ken Griffin A SUMMARY by A. Richard Smith TSA BYLAWS LETTERS TO THE EDITOR SANCHEZ SEZ ... TSA BOG (Who, What, When, Where, Etc.) CARTOON by Ken Griffin * AUSTIN MAP (With info pertaining to the BOG) courtesy of David Honea GRUTA DE CARRIZAL--ACCIDENT REPORT by Bill Elliott, Carl Kunath, Ronnie Fieseler, and Jon Vinson CARTOONS by Ken Griffin The page numbers of the Accident Report were printed to fit in an AMCS Newsletter, and will not be correctly numbered for the CAVER. Actually (as shown above) it covers pages 217-230. We hope this causes no undue confusion. Thanks.
The TEXAS CAVER, November 1971 Page 2 09 NEW TSA CONSTITUTION & BYLAWS: A History Ken A. Griffin The meeting seemed to be dragging as usual with a aura of unspoken tension in the large stone-walled room. I scanned the faces of the delegates with a chilled feeling that everyone present had something significant and antagonistic to could not speak. "The problem goes deeper than defining delegates and personalities," I said with a slight quiver. "The problem is rather a question of membership, and yes, even of defining TSA. What IS the TSA? The delegates began to murmur like an assembled group of extras in a B-movie, each nodding approval or slumping down in his uncomfortable chair in impatient disgust, all saying indistinguishable lines on cue from an imaginary director, as I rambled on in an eloquent, self-righteous manner. When I finished my short speech, the point was well taken--a committee should be appointed to study, analyze, and report on the problem of delegates and fair representation, and make recommendations to the BOG regarding same at the next meeting. This brought cheers of approval because we could cut the meeting short. Carl Kunath (D-Carta Valley) suggested that since it was my idea that I be made chairman of such a group. Barry Beck, newly installed Chairman of TSA agreed and called for volunteers to serve on the committee: Bill Russell (R-Balcones) and Bill Sherborne (D-Rice) responded. Kunath chuckled at his quick draw: I had him in mind to chair the committee. So that's how it started. Why? What was the problem? The problem was misrepresentation, disenfranchisement, gerrymandering, and political fraud. Anyone who has ever attended a TSA BOG meeting has witnessed the sham of Delegate registration and qualification, election railroading, and backfence jumping. Strong accusations? Not really, because all this was done in full legality and allowable under the former Constitution and Bylaws. The problem was what to do about it. I appointed A. Richard Smith to serve on the committee with the 3 of us. A. Richard's legal mind and his thourough knowledge of TSA made him a prime force in this endeavour. Back in Houston we held our first meeting, decided our plan of resolution, and began. A few sessions later, it became painfully apparent to us all: We would have to rewrite the Constitution (including the Bylaws) and hope for acceptance by TSA. Many man-hours later we had somehow conjured up a mutually acceptable Constitution. By now our time was at an end, for it was the night before the TSA Convention and we were to report to the BOG. At that historic 1971 TSA Convention/BOG meeting in historic San Antonio, the Constitution was unanimously accepted with only slight modification. We were, needless to say, pleased with ourselves. And very Pleased with the obvious intelligence of the Delegates. We then requested an extension in order to complete the Bylaws; it was granted. We finished the Bylaws during the summer with little difficulty. Most
Page 210 The TEXAS CAVER, November 1971 of the impossibilities had been realized in the spring before we on the Constitution. We also discovered that we could concentrate better if we stayed sober. The Bylaws were accepted by TSA at the annual l'rrJ,jer:L B(JG meetinp; ne::tr Longhorn Caverns, September 1971. Our ,job was l nl r;hecJ, our rnls sjon :jccornplishecL We had assumed a rr,rer1t responsibJ lity and taken the initiative. Now, that responsibility and initiative has been passed on to each and every member of the TEXAS SPELEOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION. Well, I must get back to my farming at Monticello. Thanks to us--from all of you. A Summary A. Richard Smith The new TSA Constitution serves several purposes: (1) it modernizes our 1961-1966 Constitution, revising it to meet 1971 needs; (2) it removes some items from the old Constitution and places them in the Bylaws, where they may be more readily amended as conditions change; (3) it clarifies several ambiguities present in the former Constitution; (4) it provides for the dissolution of TSA, if ever desired; and (5) it makes constitutional amendment practical and feasible, where it was only remotely possible before (see new Constitution, TEXAS CAVER, Aug. '71, pp. 151-152). Because of substantial revisions, each article of the new Bylaws is reviewed in the following paragraphs with a comparison to the former Bylaws and Constitution. Article I divides membership into 3 categories--group, independent, and honorary--the first two of which may have a voice in running TSA. This article is basically similar to Membership Amendment of the former Bylaws. A key point is the requirement for a group (club, grotto, survey) to provide TSA a membership list at least every 2 years in order to maintain representation and to be recognized; and, similarly, independent members must do at least one of the prescribed actions every two years to remain in TSA. Article II defines officers and their duties, which was previously defined in the old Constitution. It calls for the nominating of candidates for office at a meeting previous to that at which elections are held. This should provide for saner elections and allow time for campaigns. Most important of all, this affords the member groups to actually delegate their vote. A whole new section, Article III, establishes standing and tempora r y committees for TSA. Two of the new standing committees have been de facto committees for several years--conservation and safety. The publication committee is new and should aid TSA in having a voice in it's publications, and conversely. According to Article IV, at least two Board of Governors meetings must be held each year, one at the Convention and one at the Project. Voting delegates are defined (they were not, formerly) with some controls on unauthorized voting. A quorum of one-half the possible Board of Governors is also necessary to enact TSA business; this is designed in part to prevent a small group from secretly running TSA.
The TEXAS CAVER, November 1971 Page 211 Article V, amending methods, is unchanged from the former Bylaws. Completely removed from the new Bylaws is the requirement that an official TSA membership list was to be published at least once a year. The Secretary-Treasurer must still maintain a current membership list, and we hope that it can be published at least occasionally. The committee revising the Constitution and Bylaws were not wholly satisfied with every section, particularly on independent delegates (delegates-at-large) to BOG meetings. We feel that as TSA uses and becomes familiar with these new tools, careful amendment will make them even better. By no means does the committee feel, however, that Constitution and Bylaws are a means to an end; rather, they must be modified to fit existing and changing situations. After all, we'd rather go caving than argue legalisms. Bylaws ARTICLE I. MEMBERSHIP A. A recognized caving group is any NSS Grotto or organized caving group in Texas which has submitted an official list of members to the officers of TSA within the preceding or current calendar year. Membership lists must be approved by a majority of the TSA officers. Every recognized caving group must have at least five members. A person cannot be a member of more than one group for the purpose of meeting the minimum membership requirement. B. Membership in TSA consists of: (1) group members, (2) independent members, and (3) honorary members. 1. A group member is any member of a recognized caving group as described in bylaw I, A. 2. An independent member is any person who is not a group member and who meets one or more of the following conditions: a. A Texas resident belonging to the National Spe-leological Society; b. A Texas resident subscribing to the TEXAS CAVER; c. A Texas resident registering at an official TSA convention or project during the current or preceeding calendar year; d. Any person registering as an independent member with the TSA Secretary-Treasurer during the current or preceeding calendar year. 3. Any person may be elected to honorary membership by a simple majority of the Board of Governors. c. A member of the TSA may be expelled from membership by
Page 212 The TEXAS CAVER, November 1971 a three-fourths majority of the Board of Governors at a BOG meeting. Reinstatement shall be in a like manner. ARTICLE II. OFFICERS A. The officers of the TSA constitute the Executive Council and are: Chairman, Vice-Chairman, and Secretary-Treasurer. 1. The Chairman presides over all BOG meetings of TSA. 2. The Vice-Chairman is responsible for meeting and program arrangements, and presides at BOG meetings in the absence of the Chairman. 3. The Secretary-Treasurer records the minutes of BOG meetings, maintains a current list of members, and acts as treasurer of TSA assets, maintaining adequate financial records. B. Candidates for office are nominated from the floor or by mail to the Secretary-Treasurer at the Convention BOG meeting or the Project BOG meeting, whichever comes earlier in the calendar year. c. Officers are elected by a simple majority of the delegates voting at the Project BOG meeting or the Convention BOG meeting, whichever comes later in the calendar year. In the event that no candidate for an office receives a simple majority of the votes cast, a runoff election shall be held immediately between the two candidates for any office receiving the greater number of votes. Elections shall be held more than 30 days after nominations. D. Officers shall serve for the calendar year following their election. E. Officers may be removed from their positions by a favorable vote of three-fourths of the Board of Governors at a BOG meeting. Vacancies, for whatever cause, shall be filled for the remainder of the calendar year by the nomination from the floor and election as soon as possible. ARTICLE III. COMMITTEES A. Committees of TSA are of two kinds: standing and tern-poary. B. Standing committees are the following: Publications, Conservation, and Safety. Chairmen of standing committees are appointed by the TSA chairman and terms shall be concurrent with those of ''I'.SA of ficers. Committee chairmen may be removed at any BOG meeting by a favorable fote of three-fourths of the Board of Governors. 1. The Publications Committee shall include a t the editors of TSAsponsored caving publications. 'This eommi tte' e :s!h.all study the needs of TSA members for 'I1SA-sponsored publi-cations and : s h all
recommend publication policies to TSA BuG. 2. The Conservation Committee shall promote conservation of the caves of Texas and other areas, recommend public relations policies to TSA BOG, assist members in local cave conservation activities, and act as liaison between TSA and other groups interested in con servation. 3. The Safety Committee shall encourage safe cave exploration and coordinate cave rescue activities. C. Temporary committees are appointed and dissolved by t he TSA chairman for study and recommendations on particular subjects and issues. ARTICLE IV. BOARD OF GOVERNORS MEETINGS A. BOG meetings shall be held at the annual TSA Convention and at the annual TSA Project; these meetings are, respectively, the Convention BOG meeting and the Project BOG meeting. In the event that a Convention or Project is not held, the Executive Council shall designate an alternative meeting as a substitute. B. There shall be two kinds of voting delegates to BOG meetings: 1. A group delegate is an authorized representative of a recognized caving group. Each recognized caving group shall select and authorize its own delegates. No recognized caving group may have more than two voting delegates at a BOG meeting. 2. A delegate-at-large is an authorized representative of the independent members. Independent members shall select and authorize the delegates-at-large. Independent members may have no more than four voting delegates-at-large at a BOG meeting. 3. All delegates must register with the SecretaryTreasurer prior to each BOG meeting. 4. The right of a person to serve as a group delegate or as a delegate-at-large may be challenged by a member of his group or by an independent member, respectively, from the floor at the beginning of that BOG meeting. The right of the challenged delegate to vote must be decided immediately by a majority vote of the Executive Council. Of ficial delegates shall be all delegates at a meeting whose right to vote is not revoked. t l 5. Any group delegates may release his authority to vote at a BOG meeting and redesignate that authority to another TSA member by a written proxy approved in writing by an officer (or equivalent) toher than himself of his recognized caving group or by a simple majority of the recognized caving group. Any restrictions on voting must be contained in the written proxy. A proxy for a meeting
The TEXAS CAVER, November 1971 may be challenged from the floor by a member of the recognized caving group represented at the beginning of that BOG meeting. The right of proxy vote must be decided immediately by a majority vote of the Executive Council. Official proxies shall be all those for a meeting whose rights are not revoked. c. A quorum consisting of one-half the possible Board of Governors (that is, the voting delegates, officers, and chairmen of standing committees) shall be required to conduct business a BOO meeting. D. In the absence of specific rules of order in the Constitution and Bylaws of TSA, the current edition of Robert's Rules of Order shall prevail. ARTICLE V. AMENDMENTS The Bylaws may be amended by a favorable vote of two-thirds of the Board of Governors at a BOG meeting. Unanimously adopted by TSA Board of Governors, September 5, 1971. * Sanchez * OCo'bs.t-1 \tl I j * Sez. * * * Letters To The * * Rope is hope. *
The TEXAS CAVER, November 1971 Page 215 scheduled for 1:00 PM in Room 304-305 of the U.T. Student Union, Saturday, January 29, 1972. We have the room reserved untill 6:00 PM. The room will hold 100 people and has conferetoee table. Come early, as parking in the U.T. area is very hard to get. List of names and addresses of people offering overnight floorspace will be posted at the meeting. No party is planned as yet, but impromptu arrangements can be made at the meeting for a Saturday night gathering, either at the lake or at someone's house. Sunday trips to Travis County or surrounding caves can be arranged. Mapping trip to Airman's Cave (Travis' longest) is definite. Three other trips are possible. Bring your survey gear! All Grottoes are urged to send delegates, as there will be extensive discussion of the recent drowning of two Houston students in Gruta de Carrizal. Discussion of a more extensive rescue communications system is planned. Further information on the meeting can be obtained from: David Honea P.O. Box 7672 U.T. Station Austin, Texas 73712 Information on caving trips for sunday can be gotten from Bill Russell at the same address. A map of the Austin area showing important streets, landmarks, etc. is provided on the next page. See you in Austin!
N 1 TO HWY '1'1 2,CJO WEST 'I'he TEXAS CAVER, November 19'll \ AUSTIN MAP TSA BOG MEE. TING J"' AN. 2. 9 1-(o PM UN ION BLDG. 30 '1 SAN MI\RCOS
LA GR UTA DE CARRIZAL ACCIDENT REPORT Thursday morning, 25 November -Friday morning, 26 November 1971: groups from Dallas, Houston, San Angelo, and Lubbock, Texas arrive in the Bustamante, Nuevo Leon area of Mexico and make camp in Bustamante Canyon. Much of Thursday is spent in riding motorcycles through the area and it is decided to visit nearby Gruta de Carrizal on Friday. Friday, 26 November 1971 1:30 pm 2:30 pm 3:00 pm 3:05 pm 3:10pm 3:15 pm 3:20pm 3:45 pm 4:30pm 9:00 pm The various groups arrive at the cave. Some enter and go to the Bano Caliente (warm water) siphon (see maps) Jon Everage (Houston---leader of the Houston group) makes several unsuccessful attempts to swim through the siphon. On the third or fourth try, he fails to reappear immediately. Ronnie Fieseler, Bill Elliott, et al, watching the action, becorne cancerned and send for a rope. Everage returns after about 15 minutes. It is noted at this time that the water is up slightly, and thus the siphon is considerably longer than usual. Everage reported that on his final attempt, he had first come up in an air pocket before finally reaching the air filled room on the other side of the siphon, Chris Cleveland enters the water and disappears into the siphon. His intent to enter the siphon was apparently not clear to those watching from the bank. The rope arrives. Bruce Stone ties into the rope with a bowline. Phil, a Houston boy is to belay Bruce, Signals are arranged---1 tug on the rope will indicate trouble, and two tugs will mean that all is well. Apparently, no one comments that the signals are rever sed according to common practice, Bruce then enters the siphon, Several tugs are reported felt on the rope as the last of approximately a 50 foot length is paid out. Shortly, the rope goes slack and is pulled back. Thoughts at this time are that all is well. Elliott and Fieseler leave the cave, Remainder of the Houston group keeps watch at the siphon. Everage, concerned at the long absence (no time had been established for the length of any of the stays beyond the siphon) enters the siphon again. Everage returns and reports that there is no evidence that either Chris or Bruce ever made it through the siphon (no tracks on mud floor, etc.). Meanwhile, the remainder of the group not suspecting that anything is amiss leaves the area and returns to camp in Bustamante Canyon. The group camped in Bustamante Canyon becomes concerned and starts to return to the cave only to immediately meet a group of the Houston people coming to get them. The Houston people had been lost 2-3 hours en route. Everage and others had stayed at the siphon with lights hoping to guide the boys back. The group divides, some remaining at camp and others returning to the cave.
76 10:30 pm AMCS News The group arrives at the cave and enters. There has still been no sign of the boys. A short conference is held in the cave and continued outside. The decision is made to call for help. At this point, approximately 8 hours have passed since Chris entered the siphon. Two people are left to keep watch at the siphon. Saturday, 27 November 1971 12:05 am 12:15 am 12:45 am 2:30am 2:45am 3:00am 3:15am 3:25am 3:40am 3:45am 4:00am 4:15am 4 :20am 4:30am 4:35am Arrive Bustamante. No people are about. No phone avaliable. Arrive Villa1dama. No people are about. No phone avaliable. Arrive Sabinas Hidalgo. Find telephone at Bus Station. Calls: American consul, Nuevo Laredc(no answer), American consul, Monterrey (no answer), American Embassy, Mexico City (no answer---the operator explains that although they have a special night phone, "They never answer the night phone."), Luther Bundrant (Texas Speleological Association Rescue Coordinator), San Antonio, Texas (no answer). Contact Carl Kunath in San Angelo, Texas and partially explain problem. Request that Kunath locate cave divers and try to get them there as soon as possible. Plan is for some to return to the cave, some to be posted at Bustamante-Candela turnoff, and some to remain by the phone in Sabinas Hidalgo. Kunath calls Bundrant. No answer. Kunath calls Rane Curl, Ann Arbor Michigan. Curl is current NSS president and past NSS Safety Chairman. Obtain names and addresses of several people and organizations that might help. Kunath Calls Kenneth Laidlaw, Berkeley, California. Laidlaw is current NSS Safety Chairman. No answer. Kunath calls Southern Arizona Rescue Association, Tucson, Arizona. Most of their divers are elsewhere, but they will try to locate and will call back. Kunath calls Bundrant. No answer. Kunath calls John McLean, Albuquerque, New Mexico. John is not a diver but will call around and return the call. McLean calls Kunath. Had located only one diver and he did not feel qualified to lead such a rescue. Kunath calls James Storey, Atlanta, Georgia. No answer. Storey is active in cave diving. Kunath calls Norman Robinson, Austin, Texas. No answer. Robinson has done some cave diving. Kunath calls George Yeary, Dallas, Texas. Yeary had done some cave diving, but said that his gear was not in condition. He could not help and didn't know anyone that could. Meanwhile, all but two of the group have returned to Bustamante Canyon from Sabinas Hidalgo. The group divides, some remaining at camp, others camping at the highway intersection leading to the cave, and still others returning to the cave. Kunath calls Tommy Phillips, Austin, Texas. Reaches wrong Tommy Phillips and can get no other number. Tommy is an experienced cave diver.
v. III no. 4 77 4:40 am Kunath calls National Cave Diving Association, Miami, Florida. No answer. 4:45 am Kunath calls Donna Mroczkowski, St. Louis, Missouri. Reaches wrong party, gets correct number and talks to Mroczkowski who says she knows several cave divers. She will check around and return call. 5:00 am Arizona Rescue Association calls Kunath. Says one diver has gone caving in Grand Canyon, another diver is diving near Guaymas, Mexico. They will keep trying and will return call. 5:10 am Conway Christensen, Kirkwood, Missouri calls Kunath after having been contacted by Mroczkowski. Christensen says he can get a group of divers together quickly. Kunath tells him he will try to arrange transport for him and will call back. 5:15 am Kunath calls Goodfellow Air Force Base, San Angelo, Texas. Talks to duty officer. 5:18 am Kunath is switched to Randolph Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas. Explains situation again. 5:35 am Kunath is patched through to Scott Air Force Base, St. Louis. Explains situation again, emphasises need for quick action, and listens as the buck is passed all the way to Washington, D. c. Many people come on the line to ask questions. Most want to know if help is needed for military personnel. Only the party at Randolph expresses 6:00am 6:10am 6:20am 6:30am 8:00am 8:05 am 8:10 am any concern over the situation. Kunath is told by official in Washington that Air Force will not provide transport so long as there are commercial flights available. Kunath obtains phone numbers of u.S. Senators from Texas. Conway Christensen calls Kunath. Says he thinks he can get a National Guard plane to fly them as the National Guard had previously assured him that they would provide this service in case of emergency. Christensen says that they will need official confirmation of the emergency and is given Bill Elliott's name and his location and phone number in Sabinas Hidalgo. Mroczkowski calls Kunath wanting to know situation. Is told. Christensen calls Kunath. Says National Guard will not provide a flight, but that Eastern Airlines will. Says that the Sheriff of Webb County, Texas will send someone to talk to Elloitt in order to confirm the emergency and that they will be in the air soon after the confirmation is received by Eastern Airlines. Kunath calls Elliott. Tells him that the Christensen group will be on the way soon and that Elliott should stand by in order to provide information to the local Jefe. At this time Kunath learns that Everage had been through the siphon the second time and had seen no traces of the boys. Elliott and Kunath agree that there is little chance for the boys to be found alive. At this time, over 16 hours have passed since the first boy entered the siphon. Chief of Rural Police in Sabinas Hidalgo talks to Elliott who explains and asks for assistance with u.S. Customs for the St. Louis group.
78 8:25am 9:00am 9:30 am 9:45am 9:50am 10:30 am 10:55 am 11:00 am 11:25 am II: 30 am I2:05 pm I:OO pm I: IO pm I:30 pm 2:00 pm AMCS News Bill Elliott and Ronnie Fieseler go to the Sabinas Hidalgo Police station and call the American consul who tells them to call the American consel in Nuevo Laredo. The American consul in Nuevo Laredo, Lee Cotterman, says he will try to assist at the border. Elliott and Fieseler return to the Bus Station. Chief Deputy Sheriff of Webb County, Texas(Laredo, Texas) calls Elliott and says that he has a local rescue team lined up. He says "They been in all them caves.'' Elliott questions the prudence of this since he has never heard of the group, but can do nothing to stop their coming. Elliott calls Kunath and passes on the news of the Laredo group. Kunath has no knowledge of the group and shares Elliott's feelings about them. Both agree that the St. Louis group is still needed. Kunath calls Christensen and tells him of the Laredo group. Kunath says that the St. Louis group is still needed and says that no one has yet been by to get confirmation from Elliott. ( It is uncertain if either the County Deputy Sheriff or the Sabinas Hidalgo Policeman was doing this.) Jerry Lindsey, leader of the Laredo group calls Elliott. Elliott is somewhat reassured after this conversation. Lindsey says that they will be on the way in 20 minutes. (The Laredo group had some trouble obtaining air, eventually putting out a call on the local radio station and leaving with only three bottles.) Elliott returns to the Police Station to arrange for transport of the bodies in the event this is necessary. Fieseler takes the bus to Laredo, hoping to meet the St. Louis group at the border and guide them to the cave. Elliott returns to the Bus Station. Arizona Rescue calls Kunath. They have located one man and are continuing the search for others. Will continue checking in. Fieseler's bus breaks down near the 20 K checkpoint (Aduana). Fieseler walks to checkpoint. His papers show that he has taken a vehicle into Mexico and the Officials will not let him through the checkpoint without it. Fieseler finally talks them into calling Cotterman. No answer. Next, they call the assistant consul in Nuevo Laredo, a Mr. Gardner. Gardner had not even heard of the accident and said he would call back. David Keeper, father of one of the Houston boys, calls Elliott requesting details of the situation. Elliott tells him most of the story. (It is not known at this time how Mr. Keeper was able to obtain Elliott's location, or even how he heard of the accident.) Elliott leaves for the cave. Stops in Bustamante and sends others to stand by the phone in Sabinas Hidalgo. Fieseler is permitted to pass through the checkpoint after Gardner calls and talks to the officials. Fieseler hitches ride to Laredo. Christensen calls Kunath. Says that Eastern Airlines flight has been confirmed. St. Louis group will leave at 4:30 pm and fly to Corpus Christi, Texas. A helicopter will take them directly to the cave the following morning.
v. III no. 4 79 2:10 pm Kunath calls Bus Station in Sabinas Hidalgo, but Elliott has left. Meanwhile, Fieseler has reached the Laredo/Nuevo Laredo border and met the Laredo group. Fieseler gives them the complete story and they leave. Fieseler calls Cotterman and tells him the latest. Cotterman says we may not need the St. Louis group now and requests that Fieseler call them and discuss the situation. Fieseler calls Christensen but the line is busy. Fieseler calls Kunath and explains the situation. Both Fieseler and Kunath agree that the St. Louis group should still come as the Laredo group is not known to be competent and even so, they may need assistance. 3:00 pm Fieseler calls Cotterman again and learns that Cotterman has just been talking to St. Louis group ( thus the busy phone when Fieseler called), and has cancelled them (cancelled their flight through Eastern Airlines). Cotterman maintains that the Laredo people can handle it and still doesn't seem to understand exactly what is involved in a situation such as this. Meanwhile Louise Power (Houston) has just heard a small news spot about a caving accident in Mexico involving Houston boys and calls Kunath to see what he 3:10 pm 3:15 pm 4:10 pm 5:00 pm 5:15 pm 5:50 pm 6:25 pm 6:45 pm 7:00 pm 8:40pm 8:45pm 9:00pm 10:15 pm knows. She is told the full story. Elliott arrives at the cave with the news that two rescue teams are on the way. Christensen calls Kunath with the news that Cotterman has just cancelled their flight. Both are thoroughly disgusted with Cotterman's actions, and fear that a worse emergency may be in the making. Power calls Kunath requesting news. Nothing new. Laredo team arrives at the cave. Laredo team enters the cave and establishes a line through the siphon. No sign of the missing boys. At this time, 26 hours have passed since the first boy entered the siphon. Blair Pittman (Houston Chronicle photographer and caver) calls requesting news. Is told bare facts. Names of missing boys are withheld. Fieseler leaves on train for Candela, Coahuila ( a few miles from the cave). Power calls Kunath requesting news. Nothing new. Laredo team ends diving for the day, having made a second dive searching deep and to the left. One of the boys' flashlights was found but the water became too murky (visibility less than 1 foot) to continue diving. At this point, the divers were short of air and expressed doubts as to their ability to carry on with the rescue. Houston Chronicle calls Kunath for news. Is given nothing. Laredo divers go to Bustamante to eat. They are looking forward to the arrival of a second team. Fieseler arrives Candela with the news that the St. Louis group is not coming. Morale reaches all time low at this point. Houston Post calls Kunath (It is not known how they obtained his number and the caller refused to give any information as to his sources). Post had correct names of the boys and wanted confir-mation which was not given.
80 11:15 pm ll:ZO pm 11:30 pm AMCS News Houston Chronicle calls Kunath for news. Is given nothing new. Power Calls Kunath requesting news. Nothing is new. Divers return to camp at the cave and all retire for the night. Sunday, 28 November 1971 2:30am 7:30am 8:30am 9:00am 10:00 am 11:00 am 12:30 pm 12:40 pm 12:55 pm 1:00 pm 2:00pm 2:10pm 2:15 pm 2:25pm 2:30 pm 4:30pm 5:00pm 5:30 pm 7:10 pm Members of group stationed in Sabinas Hidalgo return to the cave. Laredo divers re-enter the cave and enter the siphon again. Bodies of the two boys are located near the ceiling about 40-50 feet from the entrance to the siphon. (41 hours have passed.) Word is passed to those waiting outside the cave and they enter to assist in removing the bodies. All bodies and equipment out of the cave. Some take bodies to Candela to complete necessary paper work while others return to Bustamante Canyon to organize remainder of Houston group and prepare to leave. Group arriving in Bustamante Canyon finds group there in mass confusion and seemingly unconcerned about recent events. Their vehicle has a broken axle and must be abandoned. Power calls Kunath with the news that both Houston papers have printed the names of the boys in some rather inaccurate stories. She has been in contact with the parents of both boys. Power calls Kunath with the news that both boys are dead. She was informed by the parents of one of the boys who had just been notified. Entire group leaves Bustamante area. Kunath calls Christensen and cancels with thanks. Kunath calls Arizona Rescue. No Answer. Group stops in Sabinas Hidalgo to pack the bodies in ice. Kunath calls Arizona Rescue. No answer. Elliott calls Cotterman. No answer. Calls Gardner (Assistant consul, Nuevo Laredo) and requests police escort to border and assistance in clearing US Customs. Gardner is still uninformed and is noncommital and unconcerned about the whole affair. After several lengthy pauses on Gardner's part, Elliott hangs up in disgust. Group leaves for Laredo. Houston Post calls Kunath for details .Are told they can have the complete and accurate story as soon as he knows it. Group reaches the border. No escort has been provided and Gardner has not so much as called to tell U.s. Customs the group was on the way. Group clears Customs. Ambulance arrives to take bodies to local funeral home. Kunath calls Arizona Rescue and cancels with thanks. Total elapsed time between group entering the cave and clearing U.S. Customs: 52 hours.
v. III no. 4 COMMENT Siphon diving in itself is dangerous. The Carrizal siphon is especially treacherous in that it is not a simple tube that one can follow blindly. To reach the air -filled room one must stay to the right. At low water stages, it is about 10-15 feet horizontal distance to the other side. When the water is only a little higher, the length of the siphon is greatly increased. At the time of this incident, the water was up perhaps a foot, but the siphon was about 25 feet long. To reach the other side, one must dive at least 10 feet deep and follow the ceiling. The water on the right side is about 15 feet deep. To the left, the floor drops off to at least 40 feet deep and there are several small air pockets in the ceiling. The bodies were found to the left, 40-50 feet from the entrance to the siphon. Stone's body was floating against the ceiling. Cleveland's body was within 15 f eet of Stone's and was neutral in the water, See maps below, ...... SKETCH MAPS-BANO CALIENTE GRUTA DE CARRIZAL 0 10 20 PLAN FEET A 10 20 I 8--8 I AIR-FILLED ROOr-.A A--A ELLIOTT 8 KUNATH 12-71 81
82 AMCS News ERRORS DIRECTLY CONTRIBUTING TO THE ACCIDENT 1) The group from Houston w-c.s large and inadequately supervised. Everage was responsible for 14 people. They were also ill-equipped and inexperienced and were entirely too casual about going to Mexico, more so about caving in Mexico. 2) Everage, group leader of the Houston group, set a poor example in diving the siphon without taking the slightest safety precautions. 3) Cleveland, a near novice caver, attempted the same feat as Everage. Everage said that he did not know Cleveland was in the water or of his intentions and that at the time he was dressing on the bank with his back turned. 4) Stone, a complete novice on his first caving trip, was allowed to enter the siphon, his intentions perfectly clear. A rope was used, but was entrusted to a con1pletely inexperienced belayman, and the signals which were arranged were backward. Again, no time limit was discussed for their proposed venture. 5) So far as can be determined, at no time was either of the boys instructed as the the physical nature of the siphon, nor did they inquire. PROBLEMS COMPLICATING THE RESCUE EFFORT 1) Few cavers go to Mexico with adequate contingency plans in case of an emergency. After the incident, the Houston group was helpless and could have done little to organize a rescue. Luckily, some of the non-Houston group spoke Spanish and knew what to do. 2) Communication problems. a) The accident was in Mexico, but Americans were needed to help. b) This was a major holiday weekend for Americans. Many of the people who might have been able to help were unavaliable, being involved in various holiday trips themselves(this was only the second time in 8 years that Kunath had been home during Thanksgiving). c) A lack of information about who might be qualified to help, and the absence of any back-up numbers for some key people (Laidlaw, Florida Rescue, Bundrant, etc) who might have been able to help. 3 ) The help received from the .Atnerican Government was worse than useless. The American Embassy in Mexico City has an emergency phone, but no one would answer it. After wasting an hour of Kunath's time, the Air Force refused to fly the St. Louis divers, even to Laredo, so long as any commercial transport was avaliable. The American consul in Nuevo Laredo (Lee Cotterman) cancelled the St. Louis diver's flight when the Laredo divers were contacted---this could have been a serious mistake should help have been needed. Once the bodies were recovered, the assistant consul in Nuevo Laredo (Gardner) was contacted and asked to provide a police escort to Nuevo Laredo and through the heavy holiday traffic. He was also r equested to assist the group in clearing U.S. Customs. He did
v. III no. 4 nothing. The man appears to have been either stupid or drunk---he asked rediculous questions, repeated himself many times, and lapsed into lengthy silences. In short, the Air Force is unsympathetic and the American officials in Mexico are inept political fixtures. It is obvious that we need to find someone in the government with responsibility and the initiative to help in situations like this one. 4) The simple fact that cave divers were needed. It is hard enough to find people who are qualified to make the 11standard11 cave rescue (ie. search a horizontal cave for a lost or injured person and evacuate if necessary), let alone try to find people qualified to perform a 11pit11 rescue, but when you need cave qualified divers, you narrow the list to a precious few. Local Sheriffs, Jefes, etc. are apt to think that anyone with an aqualung can do the job, while this is very seldom true. It was extremely fortunate that the Laredo group was avaliable and able to help---no one knew they existed. When we were told that 83 11 They been in all them caves11 we cringed. What if they had been incompetent? The tragedy could easily have grown larger. As it was the situation was none too secure. However, the Laredo divers were very competent, cautious, and they did a good job. They were: Jerry Lindsey, Dennis DeKneff, Manuel de la Fuente, Dario Gutierrez, Bill Ashe, and Dave Worthington (the last two did the actual diving). Some may ask why Fieseler and Elliott, supposedly competent cavers, sat on the bank of the siphon and watched the whole thing without stopping them. Elliott says: I have only a weak excuse to make. From almost the very moment we arrived in Bustamante Canyon on Thursday, we noticed how irresponsible many of the Houston group were. Some of them took a shovel from Vinsons truck and after using it, left it lying some distance away. I gave the ones who did this a verbal lashing, but it seemed to just bounce off. On the way to Carrizal the following day, most of us rode our motorcycles and put our ice chests in Fieselers truck, which he allowed the Houston kids to drive to the cave. They passed us on the road at high speed, tossing out empty beer cans, some of them hanging on top or out the back. When we arrived at the cave, we discovered that nearly all of two six-packs had been consumed by members of the group. Again, I gave them a tongue lashing, with the result that a few of them shrugged their shoulders and one of them returned two beers. I was already convinced that any warning to most of this group was futile. When I got to the siphon, Everage was already trying to dive the siphon. What could be said to him the supposed leader of the group? I have learned my lesson. Speaking for myself, if I ever become entangled with a group like this again, I will try to leave before something happens. From now on, when someone I am with does something stupid in a cave, I will physically restrain them if necessary, no matter who they are or what I think about them. I went through hell for two days because of someone else's stupidity, and I got what I deserved for remaining silent.
84 AMCS News RECOMMENDATIONS 1) Cavers should stay out of the Bustamante-Carrizal area for some time to come, Some will disagree, but we feel it is best to avoid any possible friction with the local people in the immediate future. 2) Any group that goes caving in Mexico should have some members who are fluent in Spanish and who have some idea of Mexican politics and customs. 3) If you are ever in a situation such as this, try to handle things as much through private channels as possible, You will of course have to notify local Mexican officials. You will risk being thrown in jail if you do or if you don't. Don't expect the Mexicans to be too much help, but they can help by cutting "red tape," We were lucky that this happened in Coahuila and Nuevo Leon. The Police Chief in Sabinas Hidalgo and the Presidente in Candela were very cooperative---it would probably have been a different story in a state such as Oaxaca where there has been considerable friction with the local p eople. 4) The AMCS should now begin collecting telephone numbers of all it's members and of all the competent cave divers and rescue teams who could help with future accidents, We had best assume that there will be future accidents. For many years, AMCS cavers have been saying that a serious caving accident in Mexico was inevitable, but most thought it would be a pit accident, A pit accident would have probably been an easier situation than this one. Everyone is urged to send the names and phone numbers of competent rescuers so that a list may be compiled and distributed to all concerned persons. This list should b e up-dated as often as possible and should be carried on all caving trips, whether to Mexico or not, CONCLUSION Both boys were probably dead within minutes of entering the siphon though other unlikely possibilitie s exist. Having no know l edge of the physical characteristics of the siphon, they continued straight or to the l eft rather than k eeping to the right along the ceiling. Thus, they found no air -filled room---only water, Prompt action, even to the extent of having diving equipment immediately at hand, would have bee n to no avail, Nevertheless, it is chilling to realize that in a situation where prompt action might save a life, that life would be jeopardized by apathy, ineptness, and bureaucratic "red tape"on the part of the American Government and certain of it's r epresentatives in Mexico, 7 December 1971 ck: Carl Kunath, Bill Elliott, Ronnie Fieseler, Jon Vinson
v. III no. 4 The following stories appeared on the UPI teletype Saturday: SABINAS HIDALGO, MEXICO--A SEARCH IS UNDERWAY IN MEXICO ABOUT 70 MILES SOUTH OF THE TEXAS BORDER FOR TWO HOUSTON YOUTHS WHO ENTERED A CAVE YESTERDAY AND FAILED TO REAPPEAR. THE UNIDENTIFIED YOUTHS DISAPPEARED IN A CAVE NEAR SABINAS HIDALGO, MEXICO--WHICH IS 70 MILES SOUTH OF LAREDO, TEXAS. THE YOUTHS ARE BELIEVED TO BE AN 18 YEAR OLD HIGH SCHOOL BOY AND A 20 YEAR OLD RICE UNIVERSITY STUDENT. TWO HOUSTON AREA YOUTHS MISSING (FEARED DEAD) IN SABINAS HIDALGO MEXICO AUTHORITIES NEAR THE BORDER REPORT THE PAIR ENTERED A CAVE AND FAILED TO REAPPEAR THE CAVE ABOUT 70 MILES SOUTH OF LAREDO, TEXAS. THE UNIDENTIFIED YOUTHS DESCRIBED BY AUTHORITIES ONLY AS AN 18 YEAR OLD HIGH SCHOOL YOUTH AND A 20 YEAR OLD RICE UNIVERSITY STUDENT. The source for both of these stories appears to have been the American consul in Nuevo Laredo and/or the Sheriff's office of Webb County, Texas. Blair Pittman edited 85 the article at the right. This is the best of any that either of the Houston papers printed. HOUSTON CBBONICL& amd.,, Novenber 28, li71 2 Houston Youths Disappear Into Cave in Mexico Two Houston youths dlsap peared tnto a eave in northern Mexico Saturday, and a search party was attempting to rescue tnem. The youths owere identified as Chris Cleveland, 18, a freshman at Rice Ulliverslty and the son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert M. Cleveland of 5839 Ettrick and Bruce S&Dne, 11, whose local addresS was Dot determined. 'lbe eldtr Qeveland said hil son went to Mexlco Wednes day on a expe dition. On Saturday, the aberlfrs office in Laredo was notified that two youths had entered a cave about I) mlles south of Laredo near the village of Bustamante In Naevo Leon state about 60 miles west of the city of Sabinas Hidalgo. The cave, in the base of a mountain, has been explored and mapped by Texas cave buHs. It has two sipbolll, or areas where the celltng of U. cave lowers below water. A man identified as WlUiam Elllott telepil>ned the slllril'a offlee in Laredo from Sllblnas Hidalgo to tiOtify them of tile diaappearance of the yont!ll. The sheriff's omae & patcbed a team of rescuers from Laredo. They \n!re expected to arrive at the cave Saturday night, but 0 wmd had beta. received of their progress early today. Cleftland Is a graduate 111 Westbury High School.
86 PttiJI 2/B ** AMCS News THE HOUSTON POST S U NCAV ll, 1!71 Houston teens lost in cave Ry BTU. fTRLOW Post Jb>port<'r efforts continu er! Srurday ni!!ht for t w o Hous ton boys l o<:l F rid" Y e x ploring a cave in !lkx i ro The bo ys w e re irientifie d h v t hI! Ameri c an C o n sul i n Nuevo Bruc e S1one Chris Cle v eland. both in their late teen s They w e re with a group of oung speh1n kPr s f r om Hou s ton who were srending the Thanksgiv ing holida ys roaming c a ves near s., b in a s Hidalgo about 80 m i les s outh of LarPdo A member of the party told r r lati v es this story: W hile explo r ing a ('a v e th a t h i's different level s one of the boys di ve d into wa t e r h o ping to surface in an other room o f the cave Whe n the bo y did not rr turn. the s rcond bo y tie d a rope a r ound his wai s t i'nd dived in al so. The group thought the sec ond di ver sig !1aled to t h e m .,.ith his ror>e that he had rea c hed the o th e r s ide He arpa rentl y u ntied t h e rop e and i t was p ulled b k. Another m a n th e n s wa1n throu g h to the ne x t r oom hut found no tra ce of th!' h a y s. There wa s rPno r terll v a THE HOUSTON POST M ONDAY, NOVEMBER 2!, 1171 a r::e number of Amel'ican' exp lori ng c a ve s in thP area. and they join e d in thf' sear ch for th e missing h oy s who'! wPre n o t imme ciia t e l\ a v aila ble. A W P hb C ount y tlernt v in L a redo said a rescuP tPetm f ro m S t. Louis anr! ..:f'\'f'rrll d iv(rs SpPh l nkrrs f:om Lar edo were l'al lerl i n to ht>l p wilh the Bodies of 2 Houston boys By SUSAN KENT CAU DILL Post RPporter of Laredo in the state of Nuevo Leon Bruce Stone, 17, a Bellaire H ig h School student, son of Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Stone of 2811 Conway and Chris 0. Clevel a nd, son of Mr. and Mr s. R obert M Cle veland of 58 3 9 Ettrick, apparently drowned in a water-filled tun nel i nside the cave. The expedition and the res c ue team cr06Sed the border i n to L aredo late Sunday bringi n g the two bodies The bodies of t w o Hou s ton boy s, victims of a Mexican cave explorin g misha p, were found by searchers a bout 9 a m Sunday in a cave south A party of about 20 Houston spelunkers started out for tile range of Mexic a n caves near Candela and Sabin a s Hidal g o late Wednesday The rescuers l argely members of the L a redo Speleolo gical S o cie t y, p ieced the story found zn Mexico cave of the other Hou s t o n c a vers togeth e r this way. O ne of the boys, Cleveland, di v e d into a water-filled tun n e l or siphon witilout a rope or a light shortly alter an a dult le ader h a d successfully d on e the same th i ng also without a rope or s cu ba gear l a te Friday night. When Cleveland did not re turn Stone went in after him with a rope tied around his waist. The rope wes:rt 1lack and was pulled b ack empty. The first boy plunged In fully clothed in Vietnam com bat boots, a rescuer Mid. The boys apparently mi86ed tile turn of the tunnel ending In an airfilled chamber, rescuers said. Both bodll!s -re found on the tunnel floor about 50 feet from the entrance to the on Jerry Lin
v. III no. 4 Crews find bodies of 2 drowned boys in Mexican cave Continued from page 1 rope, li,g-ht and preferably scuba gear. Cleveland, a member of" the Rice University Speleological Society, had several InDnths c a v i n g experience, Miss Louise Power, a society offi cer, said. "He had a cool head and was learning very rapidly," she said. Stone, an Ex p 1 ore r Boy Scout, had no caving ex perit-nce, his father said in Houston Sunday. The expedition apparently had no sponsor allhough sev eral members of the Rice club went on the trip Stone said his son went on the P.XJledition as part of a spelunking program associ ated with Explorer Post 43 and the Central Presbyterian Church. "This was Bruce's first trip. He's always been int.Pr ested in things like this. We didn't realize it was quite such an expedition," Stone said. Stone said his son was an Eagle Scout and in excellent physical condition. About 9 members of the Explorer Troop and its leader went on the Mexico ex pedition, Stone said. Dennis De Kneef, a mem ber of the Laredo Speleologic al Society who helped coordi-nate the n>sc:ue attPmpt, said the bodie< were found in a ca v e called "EI Carri1.al." Lindsey, who was with the rescue team at the cave, said A i r m a n 1st Class Dave Worthington and Sgt Bill Ashe, both from the Laredo Air Force Base, recovered the bodies with s c uba _gear. The men were also members of the Laredo caving society. Lindsey said the siphon can be treacherous if the C'.avPr does not keep to the ril!'ht fol the wall into the open cavity. A wronl( turn means an al most en water-filled tun nel, he said. which has never b!'E'n chartPd. 'If you are goi OJ! to go in, yiJu should havP somebody on a lifeline outside the water," Lindsey said. Veteran spelunker De Kneef said the cave where the boys drowned "is a fairly easy cave to go in. "But there are water traps all O\'er the place. Still, it's not especially dangerous. No one has ever been killed in that cave that I know of. "II you don t know where the siphon goes you wander around under water until you can't breathe anymore," De Kneef explained. The bodies weeP takPn to the Jackson Funeral Home in Laredo. Monday, November 29. 1911 87 HOuS'i"ON CHRONICLE Section 4 Page a Bodies of Two Cave Victims Are Returned A plane today returned from Laredo the bodies of speleolog i s ts Chris Cle v eland, 18, and Bruc e Ston e. 17. who drowned in a northern Mexico cave while exploring. Cleveland son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert M Cle v eland, 5839 Ettrick. disappeared Fri day when he div e d intv water encountered in El Carrizal cave near Sabinas Hidalgo in Nuevo Laredo state. Young Stone plung e d !n to try to find Cle v \'land and fail e d to come up. Eight cave explor e r s recov ered the bodies Sunda y Cleveland was a fr eshman at Bellaire High School and an Explorer Scout. They were with a party of 15 cav e explorers who lef t Houston last Wedne sday to e x plore the cave. located be tween Laredo and :\1onterr ey, Mexico The ca\e nt the base of a mountain had been explor e d before. The explorers found a n e w spring in the cave where the ceiling dips below the water. It was to i nvestigat e this find that Cleveland plunged into the water, friends said.
88 AMCS News The following story was realeased to the San Angelo Standard Times Monday afternoon 29 November 1971 by Kunath, Elliott, and Vinson, but was never printed. Friday 26 November 1971, about 4:00 pm, Chris Cleve land 18, and Bruce Stone 17, both of Houston, Texas and both inexperienced cavers drowned while attempting to swim through an underwater passage about 25 feet long in order to reach another room in a cave about 80 miles South of Laredo, Texas. A rescue attempt was begun within an hour when both boys failed to return and it was decided that experienced cave divers would be required to reach them. The party reached a phone about midnight Friday, and after several attempts to reach the American consels in Nuevo Laredo, Monterrey and Mexico City met with no success, they (Elliott, et al) telephoned a caver in Texas (Kunath) and asked him to contact some cave divers. Finally, a team of divers from Laredo, Texas, led by Jerry Lindsey, was located and arrived at the scene by car about 5:00 pm Saturday. Two initial dives were unsuccessful due to murky water. The rescue attempts resumed Sunday morning and the bodies were recovered about 9 :00 am Sunday. Both boys were members of a larger group of cavers from Houston, Dallas, San Angelo, and Lubbock who were in the area for the Thanksgiving holidays.
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The TEXAS CAVER, November 1971 AND NOW WE WILL ASCEND IN AN ORDERLY FASHION. I From the Duk of KEN GRIFFIN Page 231
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Contents: New TSA
constitution & bylaws: a history / Ken Griffin --
A summary / A. Richard Smith --
TSA bylasws --
Letters to the Editor --
Sanchez sez... --
TSA BOG (who, what, when, where, etc.) --
Cartoon / Ken Griffin --
Austin Map (with info pertaining to the BOG) courtesy of
David Honea --
Gruta de Carrizal: accident report / Bill Elliott, Carl
Kunath, Ronnie Fieseler, and John Vinson --
Cartoons / Ken Griffin.