This Cave Was Closed With A Man Trapped Inside!

This Cave Was Closed With A Man Trapped Inside!

Nutty Putty Cave, first explored in 1960, quickly became a famous spot for cave explorers due to its narrow and slippery passageways. One such explorer was John. Tragically, during his first exploration of Nutty Putty Cave in 2009, John became stuck in a narrow passage for 28 hours. It led to a heart-wrenching saga from there onwards. 

John was stuck upside down in a dead-end. Despite countless efforts, John remained trapped. Tragically, the cave was sealed permanently with John still inside. At the time his wife was also pregnant with their second child. In his last moments, he even spoke with his wife with the fear of never seeing her again. Let’s have a closer look at the full story of this tragic event. 

The Fateful Expedition

John’s love for exploring came from his childhood. He had many cave expeditions from a young age led by his father. John has taken many trips across Utah’s caves alongside his brother Josh and under their father’s guidance.

On November 24, 2009, John, an aspiring pediatric cardiologist and a new father, revisited his passion. He organized a trip to Nutty Putty Cave with his brother and friends. Located in Utah, Nutty Putty was a hydrothermal cave that attracted many adventurers. 

This Cave Was Closed With A Man Trapped Inside
Image source: The Mirror / MRU.INK

The expedition started off well, with the group exploring the “Big Slide” room. However, things took a dangerous turn when John, got stuck in the challenging “Birth Canal” passageway. He entered it with the hope of navigating it. This decision trapped John in a narrow, almost vertical fissure deep within the cave. 

“Hi Susie, thanks for coming. But I really, really want to get out.”

John said

Those were among the calm words he exchanged with the first rescuer who reached him, He expressed it with his dire wish to be freed.

Image source: Reddit (How John was stuck inside upside down in the dead-end he passed away)
Image source: Washington Times / Imgur (The image on the right is the sealed Nutty Putty cave in Utah. The image on the left is the plaque at the cave’s entrance, his final resting place in memory of John Edward Jones)

The Rescue Operation

Upon discovering John, his brother Josh was the first to react. He attempted to pull him out but only to see him slide back deeper. Josh then rushed to call for help and this started a complex rescue operation

Over the next 27 hours, more than 100 rescuers, including local volunteers and emergency services, assembled at the cave. Despite their efforts using pulley systems and drilling, the tight confines and John’s unsafe position—trapped upside down—made progress painfully slow. 

During this unsettling time, John managed to have heartwrenching conversations with his wife via a two-way radio. He clung to hope even when his condition worsened.

Image source: The Denver Post
Image source: NBC / KUTV

Tragedy and Aftermath

The rescue seemed close to a successful conclusion when a pulley system appeared to be working. However, a disaster struck as the equipment failed again dramatically. The cave’s narrow structure led to a critical anchor point breaking, causing John to fall deeper into the cave, sealing his fate. 

After an unbearable 28 hours, John was pronounced dead. The emotional toll on the rescue team was immense. One volunteer stated that it was the hardest rescue in his 29-year career. 

In the days following, authorities decided that the risks of retrieving John’s body were too difficult. The cave was permanently sealed, and a plaque was placed at the entrance to honor John’s memory.


The sealing of Nutty Putty Cave remains a topic of mixed feelings among the caving community and the public. Questions about John’s tragic end—still trapped in the cave, the duration he spent upside down, and the exact events—continue to stir discussions. John Jones’ story is a somber reminder of the fine line between adventure and safety. 

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