Mid-Michigan student in KY cave as it suddenly filled with water - WNEM TV 5

Mid-Michigan student in KY cave as it suddenly filled with water

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Courtesy: Chantelle Fortier Courtesy: Chantelle Fortier

A Mid-Michigan native was one of more than a dozen people inside a Kentucky cave as it suddenly filled with water.

Chantelle Fortier, from Midland, attends Central Michigan University. She was doing her field camp course at Clemson University when she went on a Hidden River Caves tour.

The tour was supposed to be 5 hours long, but as the tour guide turned the group of geology students back they encountered water where there hadn’t been before.

Even as water rose from her ankles to her knees, and eventually became so deep the group used a rope to get out, Fortier said she didn’t realize what a big deal it was until she was out.

"The water we knee deep, not ankle deep. So we knew we had to get out of there as quickly as possible," Fortier said.

Rain had begun to fall outside of the cave and the water levels inside the cave quickly rose.

This was a life and death situation for Fortier and her group, but she said through it all she remained calm and trusted those who were more experienced to get her out.

"It was kind of crazy because I knew it was a dangerous situation, but I wasn't worried we weren't going to get out of there because I knew we were because we were working really well together," Fortier said.

It took at least six hours for the group to make it out of the cave, but Fortier said there was never a doubt in her mind that she would make it out safely.

She also said she never felt trapped because they were moving quickly and efficiently and were helped by the rescue crews.

"I'm excited to go caving again and experience another caving trip, hopefully not this extreme though," Fortier said.

 Hidden River Cave starts at a sinkhole that is 150-feet deep and has two subterranean rivers that go more than 100 feet underground.

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