Since Marion Smith began caving in 1966, he's squeezed into innumerable tight spaces like the one he entered Friday afternoon.


But this particular cranny he wedged himself into while looking for new cave openings in Van Buren County, Tenn., was more akin to an impassible hole.


A rock on Smith's left fell and pinned him in to the space, resulting in a rescue effort that included nearly 50 people and a trip to the hospital that Smith, 71, cut short after deciding he was ready to leave.

National Geographic did a story on Smith 10 years ago when he discovered "The Rumble Room." Sports Illustrated also did a story on him and the cave.