CRYSTAL CITY, Mo. - "Disaster waiting to happen." That's what the Jefferson County sheriff is calling the Crystal City Underground.
Sheriff Glenn Boyer's warning comes just days after a young woman died during a "rave in a cave" party last Saturday night. His officers made 12 arrests for "narcotics, indecent exposure, urinating in public."
That's a very small number compared to the 4,500 people who were an "overall well-mannered" crowd said the sheriff. He's not worried about the attitude of the crowd. It's the safety of the venue he says could be dangerous.
The sheriff said the bridge leading up to the cave is too narrow and old. It used to be an old railroad bridge that was strong enough to hold railway cars filled with lead.
Boyer said firefighters and paramedics don't feel comfortable crossing it if they have to respond to an emergency. He said it's only one way in and one way out, which could create gridlock.
The tours on the 200 acre lake in the back of the cave worry him. He said some of the people on the barge on Saturday night were drunk.
"They were piling as many people as they could on to it and they would take them out give them a tour. We didnt seen any life vests of the barge any grab polls. If that barge would sink with 25 people on board how many deaths could happen?" he said.
The sheriff sent seven officers to do enforcement and the owners hired their own private security. He doesn't' think it was enough to manage the crowd.
"We are in total agreement. We'll be addressing all his concerns because we share his concerns," said Bob Kister, lawyer for the Crystal City Underground owners. He's invited the sheriff to take a tour through the cave and help his clients run a safer business before they have the next rave in a cave in November.
He said the owners have already started making changes.