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The haunting last words of the man who experienced ‘the worst death imaginable’

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John Edward Jones, a 26-year-old medical student and father, entered Nutty Putty Cave near Salt Lake City on November 24, 2009. It was a family outing meant for exploration and adventure, but it turned into a heartbreaking tragedy.

John was an experienced spelunker, familiar with the challenges of cave exploration. On that fateful day, he aimed to navigate a narrow section of the cave known as the Birth Canal. Mistakenly thinking he was on the right path, John squeezed into a tight passage. At six feet tall and weighing 200 pounds, he quickly found himself stuck.

Credits: Jones Family Handout

Trapped in a space just 10 inches wide and 18 inches high, John was unable to move. Worse, he was upside down, adding immense stress on his body. His brother Josh was the first to find him. Despite his efforts to pull John out, his brother slipped further into the narrow crevice.

Realizing the dire situation, Josh said a prayer, asking for guidance. John, desperate to survive for his wife and children, added, “Save me for my wife and kids.” Josh then left to find help, encountering a woman named Susie Motola. She courageously attempted to assist in the rescue.

When Susie reached John, he thanked her, saying, “Hi Susie, thanks for coming. But I really, really want to get out.” His anxiety and fear were palpable.’

Credits: Jones Family Handout

Rescue teams worked tirelessly for over a day, with more than 100 people joining the effort. However, John’s position made it nearly impossible to free him. The stress on his heart from being upside down for so long was overwhelming.

At one point, a pulley system failed, and John, losing hope, said, “I’m going to die right here. I’m not going to come out of here, am I?” Despite the efforts around him, John fell unconscious and eventually succumbed to cardiac arrest after being trapped for about 27-28 hours.

John Edward Jones’s tragic death led to the permanent closure of Nutty Putty Cave. His body remains there, a somber reminder of the risks of cave exploration and the deep love of a father who fought to survive for his family.