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Five Boys Saved From Cave

January 15, 1988

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) _ Five boys who found themselves lost 100 feet inside a cave were rescued after they promised God they’d never go down there again.

″We prayed 20 times out loud, and then some of us slept,″ said 10-year- old Brandon Davis after he and his friends, all aged 10 and 11, were rescued Thursday.

Worried parents and rescue workers cheered as the boys were led out. Their clothes and faces were caked with dirt, but the children were uninjured and in good spirits.

Sheriff’s deputies, volunteer firefighters and emergency medical crews were called about 8 p.m. Thursday after relatives said they hadn’t seen the boys for several hours.

Their skateboards, a bicycle and a scooter were found on the ground near the cave opening.

Shawn Richardson, 11, said he and his friends began exploring the cave about 5 p.m., and it took them 30 minutes to go deep enough to get lost.

″We couldn’t find the way out. The deeper and deeper you go into the cave, it separates into a bunch of other caves. We went into one deep one,″ he said. ″It was cold in there, but we were cuddled together on the ground waiting for someone to come and get us out.

″We were pretty stupid to go down there.″

The youngsters shivered, slept and prayed for about four hours before being rescued about 9 p.m. Thursday by Bill Russell and Craig Bittinger.

″We prayed that if we ever got out of there, we’d never go in again,″ Brandon said.

Russell, who explores caves as a hobby, had previously mapped the Travis County cave where the boys were found. He and Bittinger are members of the Texas Speological Association.

The youths had one flashlight with weak batteries when Russell and Bittinger found them. Bittingger said the boys had gone through a hole into a room about 30 feet long, 6 feet high, and 10 feet to 20 feet wide, and then couldn’t find their way out.

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