No One Could Save John Jones From His Tragic Spelunking Accident - But His Death Sparked Change

During the evening of November 24, 2009, John Jones and a group of fellow cave explorers entered Nutty Putty Cave located near Salt Lake City, UT. Nutty Putty is a hydrothermal cave known for its tight twists and crawl spaces; management has occasionally closed this cave off to the public due to its dangerous conditions. Yet spelunkers of all ages are always keen to navigate the crevice, and Jones was no exception. Unfortunately, Nutty Putty became Jones's final resting place.

While exploring the cave, Jones got wedged in a small opening and was unable to free himself. Rescuers tried to save him, but after a long, dramatic, and ultimately unsuccessful rescue attempt, John perished, leaving a wife, a daughter, and an unborn son behind. The 2016 film The Last Descent retold Jones's story to the world at large. In the years following Jones's death, researchers have initiated efforts to better understand caving injuries and deaths to make spelunking safer.