A 20-year-old theology student trapped in a cave says rescuers did a remarkable job, but he says, "God pushed me out."
Logan Eliasen became wedged between rocks while exploring a cave in Maquoketa Caves State Park over the weekend.
"I slipped further and further down in a rut, in the cave and pretty soon my legs were stuck, my hips were stuck, my chest was stuck. I couldn't move," said Eliasen in an interview Monday at his parents home in Port Byron, Illinois.
"I was so exhausted, hungry, tired. It was so cold. So cold," he said of his 20-hour ordeal. "I just didn't have any strength left."
Rescuers from two states came to his aid, 100 feet below ground. Some chiseled away at the rocks to loosen their grip on Eliasen, others delivered oxygen to him. Some were there to let him know he was not alone.
"When I started to break down, the rescue workers really took care of me. They were so good to me, they talked to me the whole time," said Eliasen. "I'm so grateful for the people who were there to help me."
At some point, he says he knew he was going to have to give it one last push to help rescuers pull his body from between the rock. He says he prayed and prayed, and somehow, gave it one last go.
''It wasn't me. I was drained, and God just pushed me out. That's what happened," Eliasen said. He relied on his faith to help see him through being trapped for 20 hours.
"I prayed through the whole thing. That's the only thing that kept me going. There were times I felt delirious. So I just closed my eyes and prayed continuously."
Eliasen's friend, Emma Thompson, actually got stuck first. She was rescued after four hours.
"She was coming down at an angle, her shoulders got wedged in between the rocks, so she was face down with her legs in the air. After the rescuers came and got her out, I got stuck on my way out of the cave," Eliasen said.