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Near tragedy at Ledges ends well - Hinckley Ohio Historical Society

Well, you have read and heard and seen all of the stories about Wildcat Cave. Up until October 6th, we had never heard that it had a name. It does now.

Hinckley is well known, too.

Morris get stuck in a crack between the caves

At approximately 11:30 a.m., October 5th, 1965, fifteen year old Morris Baetzold, who had been staying at the Methodist Children’s Home in Berea, got himself wedged into a crack between the inner and outer caves. His body was sideways with his head slightly downward. One arm was pinned beneath him.

The first attempts to aid him came from adults who accompanied the group of youngsters from the Home. Being unsuccessful, they called upon the Rescue Squad of the Hinckley Fire Department. We were told that the alarm was sounded on four occasions to get more help.

Special equipment and personnel called to help

As time went on and it became more apparent that special equipment and personnel were needed, a general alarm was put out. Mine experts from far and wide were summoned. Two men, John Buck and Harry Sugden. of the International Salt Company of Cleveland were Hinckley residents and they responded quickly.

In the meantime, firemen were in the cave doing their best to survey the situation, aided by Dave Goodyear of Brunswick.

Ted Kling, 1821 Ganyard, Akron and Terry Brown, 8159 Crosier, Akron went into the mine repeatedly. All to no avail. They, firemen and others like Archer Bailey, Jr. of Hinckley and Bob West of Granger came up with some descriptions and ideas.

From this, basic plans were made and these were followed through, throughout the long afternoon and night.

Mine workers, State mine rescuers, and volunteers started showing up in force.

The turnout to help was overwhelming

In restrospect, the turnout was absolutely overwhelming.

As teams came out of the cave, others were waiting to give it a try. Each team was questioned and further plans developed from their experiences. Scotty Wershing and his machine shop (on wheels) was called upon to make tools nearby.

As night came on, the whole area was flooded by lights powered by the department generator, and others carried in by firemen from other communities. Ohio Bell set up a radio -telephone center, and a telephone line was set up from the entrance of the cave to the rescue truck where radio kept touch with the outside.

Tanks of oxygen were brought in to supply the victim and his resucers in their cramped quarters.

Dr. Gaudreault was on the scene and Dr. Andrew J. Karson, the Medina County Coroner, went into the cave to stay at about 11:00 p.m., except for a couple of coffee breaks, until Morris was brought to the surface.

To be continued: Sustenance & Spunk – Part 2

SOURCE: "Near Tragedy Ends Well at Ledges", Hinckley Reporter, October 6, 1965, Vol VIII, No. 8



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