Workers recovered the body of Kevin Eve, 25, from the Breathing Hole cave in Harrison-Crawford State Forest around 6:20 p.m. Monday.
A group of college students exploring the cave along the Ohio River came across the body Sunday. They hesitated to call park officials because the cave had been closed to the public since 2009.
Recovering Eve’s body required negotiating 154 feet of staggered climbs near the cave’s exit. Groups of six to eight people at a time relayed Eve’s body up and over wet and muddy obstacles before handing the body off to another group of people, continuing the process until they finally surfaced Monday.
“The cooperation between everybody involved was phenomenal,” said Lt. Phil Schuetter, Indiana Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division.
The search involved more than 200 people, including members of the Indiana DNR Forestry Division, the Indiana State Police, the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office, and volunteers from the caving community from as far away as Iowa, according to Cave Rescue Team leader and conservation officer Jim Hash.
Breathing Hole Cave is one of about 350 caves in Harrison-Crawford State Forest. It had been searched twice before, but Eve’s body was found in a relatively unknown passage that is not even listed on some cave maps.
Fox41 in Louisville reported that the coroner’s office determined Tuesday that Eve died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.