Man explores a cave
Chantel Brink
Chantel Brink
January 16, 2024 ·  4 min read

Last Words of Man Who ‘Died the Worst Death Imaginable’

The chilling parting words of a man who endured the ‘most agonizing death imaginable’ while caving (aka spelunking) have come to light. There’s an inexplicable fascination the internet harbors for last words, and the final utterances of a man who met his demise in the ‘most nightmarish way possible’ have left the online community deeply moved.

John Edward Jones, aged merely 26, met a tragic end in Nutty Putty Cave, situated about 55 miles from Salt Lake City, in November 2009. His demise was not only terrifying and painful but also unfolded agonizingly slowly, allowing his concluding words to be documented for eternity.

What started as another caving adventure for the brothers quickly turned dark

John Edward Jones wanted to get out of the cave and be reunited with his wife and kids.
Image Credit: Jones Family Handout

Jones, accompanied by his brother Josh, was spelunking in the cave system in Utah. In the cavern, known among explorers as the ‘birth canal,’ Jones encountered a particularly narrow passage. He entered Nutty Putty Cave at approximately 8 pm local time on the evening of November 24, 2009. Unfortunately, a wrong turn led him to become ensnared upside down in the confining cave system.

His brother Josh initiated the initial rescue attempt, pulling Jones’ feet, but his shifting position only resulted in further entrapment. “Guide us as we work through this,” Josh prayed at the time. In response, Jones uttered his desperate plea, “Save me for my wife and kids.

Subsequently, Josh left his brother to seek additional help, and Susie Motola, a woman, was the next person to reach John’s location, arriving around 12:30 am on November 25. Heartbreakingly, Jones greeted her, saying, “Hi Susie, thanks for coming, but I really, really want to get out.”

Read: The Excruciating Death of Floyd Collins, Cave Explorer

A rescue party so big

John Edward Jones stuck in Nutty Putty Cave
Image Credit: Utah County Sheriff’s Office | Desert News

Over the ensuing days, over 100 more rescue personnel joined the efforts to save Jones. He was suspended at a downward angle, subjecting his body to immense strain. Gravity forced his heart to work harder to pump blood to his extremities, creating substantial challenges for his cardiovascular system.

Various rescue methods were attempted, including a rope and pulley system, but it proved unsuccessful. Shaun Roundy, one of the individuals on the scene, reflected, “I reviewed the whole mission, wishing we’d have done this tiny detail differently or done that a little sooner. But it’s no use second-guessing things. We did our best.”

When the reality of the situation finally set in

Following the failure of the pulley system, Jones seemed to acknowledge his fate, stating, “I’m going to die right here. I’m not going to come out of here, am I?” Tragically, after enduring many hours in the inverted position, Jones succumbed to cardiac arrest, and his heart gave out.

Remarkably, his final words were not self-centered concerns but rather worry for one of his rescuers, Ryan Shurtz, who had been injured during the operation. A loose carabiner had struck him in the face, prompting Jones to inquire, “Is he OK? I think he’s really hurt bad.”

Since Jones’ tragic death, the cave has been permanently closed to the public. His body remains in its entangled position, with the fear that attempting retrieval might lead others to risk their lives.

Diagram of John Edward Jones stuck in Nutty Putty Cave
Source: Titter/X

Not the first time the Nutty Putty Cave has attempted to claim a life

Back in 2004, two Boy Scouts almost lost their lives in separate incidents at the same part of Nutty Putty Cave where John got trapped. These incidents happened within a week of each other, showing how dangerous the cave can be.

In one case, a 16-year-old Scout, who was smaller than John, weighing 140 pounds and standing at 5’7″, got stuck. It took rescue crews a whopping 14 hours to free him, using a complicated set of pulleys.

Because of these serious incidents in 2004, officials decided to close Nutty Putty Cave. It had only been reopened for six months in 2009 when John and his family went inside. Unaware of the dangers that awaited them. The sad events involving the Boy Scouts served as a warning about the risks of exploring the intricate and unsafe passages of Nutty Putty Cave, eventually leading to its closure once again after John’s tragic incident.

Here’s more on the caving incident

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  1. Harrowing Last Words Of Man Who ‘Died Worst Death Imaginable’ Revealed.” IGV Official. Annie Walton Doyle. January 4, 2024
  2. Nutty Putty Cave Was A Hotspot For Underground Explorers — Until One Spelunker Got Trapped Inside.” All that’s Interesting. William DeLong. March 11, 2023
  3. Nutty Putty Cave: Before and After the 2009 Tragedy.” How Stuff Works. Dave Roos and Austin Henderson. November 20, 2023