published Monday, February 25th, 2013

Georgia Tech student says he was lucky after rescue from Franklin County cave

After tumbling about 40 feet down a hole in a Franklin County cave on Saturday, Georgia Tech student Steven Touchton says he's OK.

"I think I was really lucky," Touchton, 21, said Sunday. "I didn't get nearly as many injuries as I could have."

Touchton suffered a broken pelvis, three breaks to his clavicle, a compression fracture to a vertebra and a small fracture in his left wrist.

Fortunately, none of the breaks require surgery and Touchton will be headed home for a bit after his release, he said by telephone from his bed in Erlanger hospital.

"It will be difficult to be mobile for the next couple weeks," he said.

Touchton was caving with a group of 17 people from Georgia Tech when he fell in the hole. A multiagency rescue team retrieved him from the cave, and he was airlifted to Erlanger about 9 p.m. Saturday, according to Sgt. Chris Guess, spokesman for the Franklin County Sheriff's Office.

"I had an awesome rescue team," Touchton said. "I was really impressed with the number of people who came to get me and the speed with which they did it."

The team included members from the Hamilton County Rescue Squad, the Crow Creek Fire Department and Franklin County's rescue squad. According to Guess, they worked for almost three hours to free Touchton from the cave.

"Those guys do a good job," Guess said." We're really lucky to have them."

about Lindsay Burkholder...

Lindsay Burkholder is originally from Winston-Salem, N.C. She graduated from Covenant College in May 2012 with a bachelor's degree in English. While at Covenant she spent time writing for and editing the news section of the school newspaper, The Bagpipe. Burkholder also attended the World Journalism Institute in New York City in 2011.

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