Bend man injured in Bessie Butte Cave fall, rescued

Technical operation involved several agencies

BEND, Ore. - A Bend man fell and was injured Saturday afternoon as he tried to leave the Bessie Butte Cave south of Bend, prompting a technical, multi-agency rescue operation, Deschutes County sheriff's deputies said.

Dispatchers with 911 received a report from a fellow climber around 1:30 p.m. that Tyrell Bailey had fallen in the cave, located near China Hat Road and Forest Service Road 1810, said Deputy Russell Stanage. The man’s age was not immediately available.

The fellow climber said Bailey was among a group of friends who had descended into the cave, and Bailey fell as he tried to exit the cave, Stanage said. Bailey was reported to be injured and unable to exit the cave on his own.

Sheriff's deputies, the Bend Fire Department, a Forest Service law enforcement officer and 20 Sheriff's Search and Rescue personnel responded to the scene.

A technical rescue system was set up by Bend Fire and DCSO SAR personnel, Stanage said. The system included a tripod-like device, known as an "artificial high directional," and rope system to raise the injured man out of the cave, including a 30-foot vertical section, the deputy said.

Bend Fire medics took Bailey to St. Charles Bend with non-life-threatening injuries. A house supervisor at the hospital said he was treated and released.

Stanage said Bessie Butte Cave has a confined space entrance which limits accessibility.

"Bailey and his climbing partners had limited experience and poor equipment to attempt entry into such a cave," the deputy wrote.

"Deschutes County Sheriff's Office would like to remind those recreating in and around caves to be familiar with the type of cave, access and exit gear requirements and the technical skills required to safely complete such an exploration," Stanage added.

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