A rock dislodged from a cave and struck a 20-year-old man in the back of the head on Saturday in Uintah County.

A news release from the county sheriff’s office said the injured man needed to be retrieved by a search and rescue team, though he was later treated and released at Ashley Regional Medical Center in Vernal.

The accident happened in Toothbrush Cave, about 20 miles north of Vernal. The 20-year-old, an 18-year-old woman and a 21-year-old man were about 200 feet inside the cave when a rock the size of a cantaloupe dislodged, according to the news release. The rock fell about 50 feet before it hit the younger man.

The blow knocked the man unconscious; after he regained consciousness, one of his friends helped him get down from his immediate location. Rescuers received an emergency call at 11:35 a.m.

(Courtesy Uintah County Sheriff's Office) Rescuers on Sept. 21, 2019, retrieved a spelunker who was injured when a rock fell in Toothbrush Cave, 20 miles north of Vernal. The rock, the size of a cantaloup, struck the 20-year-old in the back of the head. He was taken to a hospital where he was treated and released.

They set up a high-angle rope system and placed the injured man into a basket. They then lowered him out of the cave.

The three had food and some caving gear, but they were not wearing helmets, the news release said.

Approximate location of the cave