- Volunteer searchers find the men alive and unhurt
- "Do not underestimate the cave," one of the rescued men says
- Caving experts from around the region gathered for the search
Three men missing in a 13-mile-long West Virginia cave complex since Sunday were rescued alive and unhurt Monday night, authorities said.
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, said April Harvey, assistant chief of the Renick Volunteer Fire Department.
Authorities were notified early Monday morning, and trained cave rescuers began their search shortly after 4 a.m. The men were found alive and well about 9 p.m. by two volunteers from the Virginia Tech Cave Club, Harvey said.
One of the three, West Virginia University student Grant Blaisdell, told CNN affiliate WVVA he was "ready to get on with the rest of my life" after learning a difficult lesson: "Do not underestimate the cave, and do not overestimate your abilities."
Blaisell said he and his friends had sleeping bags and food as they waited for rescue alongside an underground creek. But when they first saw their rescuers' lights, they weren't certain they weren't an illusion.
The creek "kind of messes with you," Blaisdell said. "You think you see lights, you think you hear voices, but it's not that at all."
Renick is located in a mountainous region about 120 miles east of the state capital, Charleston. In addition to Virginia Tech, caving experts from Morgantown and Charleston came to the entrance, located off of a rural road in Greenbrier County, Harvey said.