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Teenagers Eric Bennet and Dwayne Easter, aged seventeen, never in their wildest imagination dreamt that their exploring adventure at 'Devil Icebox" would turn into a near-death experience. They had been exploring deep within the forbidding-looking abandoned mine on Pilot Knob Mountain when disaster struck.

A huge boulder shifted drastically and Eric was hurled forward 20 feet into complete darkness. While he escaped with minor scratches, Dwayne was not so lucky. As huge parts of the hundred-year-old mine began to collapse, Dwayne was thrown backward and pinned by an immense grey boulder. Trying to control his panic and tears despite the unbearable pain that was tearing at his lower body, Dwayne tried to catch his breath and then lapsed into silence as the pain transformed into numbness.

Hearing Dwayne's agonizing scream pierce the air, Eric picked up his torch and switched it on. Following the cries of "My legs! Oh goodness, my legs!" Eric looked up to find Dwayne's body dangling upside down over the side of a six-foot high ledge. His legs were pinned by a boulder. Quickly assessing the situation, Eric picked his way through the rubble and got out of the cave, leaving Dwayne with the words, "I've got to get help." Running all the way to the town of Pilot Knob in Missouri, Eric alerted Deputy Sheriff, Water Yates, who lost no time in gathering volunteers. Eric, Yates and three volunteer firemen then made their way to the mine where Dwayne had been hanging for about two hours.

"Help me!" cried Dwayne's voice from somewhere in the darkness that encompassed the cave. Moving nearer to Dwayne, Yates and the firemen saw that his shoes had been crushed to a width of about two inches. Although Dwayne's feet were inside those shoes, there was very little bleeding and his pulse rate and skin color were also more or less normal. There was still the threat of shock, however, and Yates knew that if there was even any pressure around the boulder causing it to move, it would jeopardize the lives of not just Dwayne, but all of them waiting beneath it. Not wanting to alarm Dwayne, Yates whispered, "Its bad, real bad," to the others and urged them to get more medical help and volunteers to rescue Dwayne as well as the rescuers in case the entire mien collapsed.

By 6 p.m., nearly four hours after the accident, more volunteers had joined the rescue operation in the cave which had been filled with floodlights. The rescuers did not merely have to deal with the tension and trauma, but also with the bats that were flying wildly and slamming into their faces. Trying to alleviate Dwayne's pain, nurse Lidi Eberhardt, a volunteer, injected Dwayne with a shock-retarding saline solution while another volunteer positioned himself directly beneath the ledge so that the weight of Dwayne's body would rest on him instead.

Some portions of the boulder rested on solid rock while others were supported only by rubble. The boulder resting precariously on the ledge further posed a serious hazard to the rescuers. The first attempt to lift the boulder with the jack failed and the second caused it to be lifted slightly. Hope turned to terror, however, when the boulder suddenly started to shift and teetered dangerously on the ledge while the rescuers prepared themselves for death. Fortunately, it merely slid a few inches and then came to a miraculous stop with Dwayne still pinned beneath it. Their spirits flagging, the volunteers conceived a new and daring plan.

Answer the following questions using complete sentences
  1. What is referred to as the 'Devil's Icebox' (paragraph 1) ?
  2. Quote a word in paragraph 1 that tells us the mine is not a safe place to enter.
  3. What does the writer mean by 'Dwayne was not so lucky' (paragraph 2) ?
  4. What was Dwayne experiencing concerning his lower body when he 'lapsed into silence' according to paragraph 2 ?
  5. Why did Eric run out after 'quickly assessing the situation' (paragraph 3) ?
  6. What were the positive signs about Dwayne's injury ?
  7. Explain two situations that could pose a great threat to the lives of the rescuers according to paragraph 4.
  8. How dangerous was the position of the boulder ?
  9. Explain why the writer wrote 'hope turned to terror' in the last paragraph.
  10. 'Their spirits flagging, the volunteers conceived a new and daring plan.' (paragraph 6). What were the rescuers' feelings about the rescue operation at this point in time ?
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The abandoned mine on Pilot Knob Mountain is referred to as 'Devil's Icebox'.


The word is 'forbidding-looking'.


He means that Dwayne was not as lucky as Eric, who had escaped with slight injuries, as he was pinned by a boulder.


He was feeling numbness in his lower body.


He knew he could not help Dwayne himself and needed to get help from others quickly as Dwayne was in grave danger.
  6. There was very little bleeding. His pulse rate and skin color were also more or less normal.
  7. Firstly, any pressure around the boulder could cause it to fall on the rescuers and secondly, the rescuers could be buried under if the mine collapsed.
  8. Parts of the boulder were resting on rubble and the boulder was also resting precariously on the ledge.
  9. The boulder was lifted slightly which gave the rescuers hope but when it suddenly teetered dangerously on the ledge, the rescuers became terrified.
  10. They were not very optimistic. / They were not hopeful. / They did not think it was going to be successful.

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Comprehension 1


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