Floyd Collins was an amateur caver living in Kentucky during the 1920's. At that time there were numerous territorial battles over newly discovered caves raging between the people of the region. Floyd was one of the better known explorers and had helped uncover some of the most profitable areas. On his search for the perfect tourist cave Floyd became trapped by a rock pinning his foot against the wall of a narrow passageway 125 feet underground. His family members managed to keep him alive for days, but all initial rescue attempts failed. When the authorities were finally called in the first large media circus of the 20th Century began. Thousands of people showed up from all areas of the country to watch the rescue, and an extravagant "carnival" setting was created- complete with balloons and souvenirs. Exploitation at its finest. After about 9 days another smaller cave-in prevented any further contact with Floyd and the rescuers began to sink a shaft through the mountainside to reach him. The shaft finally broke through to the trapped man three days after he died of starvation and exposure.

The story was extremely well known at the time and has inspired a movie ("The Big Carnival") and an Off Broadway musical called "Floyd Collins".

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