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Stay Out! Stay Alive!
Stay Out! Stay Alive!
Near Misses
Incidents that could have resulted in a fatality, but did not.


03/03/2009
A man in his 60s was rescued Tuesday from an abandoned mine in east Yuma County with only minor injuries, after falling about 15 feet down inside the shaft, the sheriff's office said.

"Apparently he was looking over the edge and the ground underneath him crumbled, causing him to fall," said Capt. Eben Bratcher, spokesman for the Yuma County Sheriff's Office.

The man, whose name was not immediately available, was pulled from the mine shaft by rescuers and a specialized crew from the YCSO Tuesday afternoon after spending about an hour and a half inside the shaft.

"He was extremely lucky. He caught on to a small ledge of support timbers," Bratcher said. "If he had missed that, he would have fallen about 100 feet to the bottom of the shaft."

Sheriff's deputies and the sheriff's search and rescue team were dispatched to an area south of Tacna that morning in response to a report that a person had fallen into a mine shaft.

The mine is located about 20 miles south of Tacna. Tri-Valley Ambulance also was dispatched to the area.

Greg Givens, an EMT with Tri-Valley Ambulance, said rescuers had to park their vehicles about a mile and a half from the scene and carry their gear in on foot.

"The mine is in a pretty remote area on the Barry M. Goldwater Range," Givens "It was a pretty good hump."

Givens said when they got to the mine, they located four other people there who had accompanied the man who had fallen inside it. One of those individuals placed the cell phone call to report the accident.

Givens said a member of the YCSO search and rescue team descended down into the shaft and attached a full-body harness to the man.

Once that was done, rescuers pulled the man back to the top and out of the mine.

"He came right out and seemed to be in good spirits and didn't seem too shaken up at all," Givens said. "I had to ask him to sit down so I could check him out."

Neither Bratcher or Givens knew if the mine was active or abandoned.

Bratcher recommended that people to stay away from abandoned mines because they are extremely dangerous.

"There are lots of them scattered around the county and many are unmarked and a majority of them are maintained," Bratcher said.

The man who fell down the mine was treated at the scene for minor injuries, according to Givens.

Source: Yuma Sun