incident at Streak Of Sunlight Cave

ACA 1973 page 8
1st Apr 1973
Streak Of Sunlight Cave
Incident type
Difficulty on rope
Primary cause
Anchor rock dislodged
Secondary cause
Group type
Group size
Aid type
Underground aid
Incident flags
Data status

Injured cavers

Name Age Sex Injuries Injured areas
Stidham, David 25 Male Fracture, dislocation Leg, shoulder

Incident report

Sunday. 1 April 1973 Streak of Sunlight Cave contains an 86-foot pit and two shorter drops. Ed Yarbrough rappelled down one of the shorter drops, and then David Stidham (25) checked the other. Stidham chimneyed down a 49-foot-deep pit to a point beyond which a rope would be required. Around 2:15 p.m. he tied off a rope to a wall projection, but as he started to rappel, the rock used as a rigging point was dislodged. Stidham estimates that the rock weighed up to 500 pounds. He was able to avoid falling farther by wedging himself in the chimney. Stidham suffered a broken lower right leg, a partially dislocated left shoulder, bruised right forearm, and a gash on his right ankle. Yarbrough was able to chimney down to Stidham. He assisted by removing rocks from the victim, relocating his shoulder, and helping him transfer from rappel to the Texas ascending system. Stidham was able to prusik with his injured leg hanging vertically below him. Yarbrough's carbide light had nearly gone out, but he luckily reached the point where he had left his spare carbide. One rope was rerigged. and Stidham was able to climb to the top of the 49-foot pit, but could not get out of the cave without additional help. Yarbrough went for help and returned in about 11/2 hours with a rescue team of six cavers. Stidham was out of the cave by 6:45 p.m., about 41/2 hours after the accident.

Analysis: The rigging point was not thoroughly checked. Another anchor point was available higher up in the chimney.


David Stidham. Yarbrough, Ed. (1973) "David Stidham Injured in Streak of Sunlight Cave." Speleonews. pp. 25-27


Speleonews p25

This record was last updated on 18th Nov 2023 at 00:30 UTC.