Woman dies after falling 100ft inside Virginia cave

A woman was found dead after falling 100 ft inside a cave in southwestern Virginia, according to officials.

The incident occurred on Friday afternoon in the Staffordsville Community outside of Pearisburg, the Giles County Emergency Services said in a statement posted to Facebook. Staffordsville is roughly 60 miles away from Roanoke.

Several first responders from the Giles County Sheriff’s Office, Pearisburg Fire Department and Giles Rescue Squad responded to the emergency. Officials did not specify whether the cave was a tourist attraction.

Officials say that the woman, identified as 38-year-old Autumn Nicole Draper, was found deceased after rescuers entered the cave. She was then extricated from the area by rescue personnel.

Draper was from Fairlawn, around 30 miles away, and was identified by DMV records, according to WDBJ.

An investigation into the incident is being undertaken by the Giles County Sheriff’s Office. The cave was cleared just after 1am on Saturday. Officials did not release any more information about the woman’s death.

According to the Virginia Department of Energy, the state is in control of 4,000 caves.

“Humans are presently the largest animals which visit Virginia caves,” says the state energy department.

“We have used caves for shelter, religious purposes, moonshine production, mining of saltpetre, groundwater, scientific and educational research, recreation, and as commercial attractions.”

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