There was no immediate word on their condition. They went into the 13-mile Bone-Norman Cave System late Saturday on a weekend spelunking -- or cave-exploring -- trip and did not return as expected Sunday evening, April Harvey, assistant chief of the Renick Volunteer Fire Department, told CNN.
Grant Blaisdell, Jay Pachino and Matthew Stephens, all 21, entered the 14-mile cave system Saturday with the intent to spend the night and return home Sunday evening, according to family members. When the men failed to return, the family called emergency services.
The men had become lost and were found in good shape and were able to walk out, the spokesman said.
Responders had found one of the men’s vehicles parked near the Norman Cave entrance early Monday morning. Renick firefighters entered the cave just after 4 a.m, according to WVNS-TV, and later enlisted the help of NCRC Eastern Region members.
As of 8 p.m., seven rescue teams of four to five people had searched for the three men, according to a spokesman for the NCRC.
At about 9:30 p.m., the men were reportedly found and left the cave system through the Bone Cave entrance.
The two caves are connected by a “pinch” about 8 inches tall.
By 10 p.m., they were at the Renick Volunteer Fire De-partment.
The Keyser men include a Potomac State College student, West Virginia University student and their friend. One of the men has been in the cave system before and another is reportedly an emergency medical technician.
Rescue teams from Blacksburg and Roanoke, Va., responded initially, with other teams who were on standby being called out at about 6:30 p.m.
Three cavers from Keyser and Barton were among those who responded Monday evening. Other cavers from as far as the Washington, D.C., and State College, Pa., areas were en route when the lost men were located.
Renick is located in a mountainous region about 120 miles east of the state capital, Charleston.