Stay Out! Stay Alive!
Incidents that could have resulted in a fatality, but did not.
A pleasant hike on a gorgeous day took a frightening turn when two local men tried to rappel down a mine shaft in California's Rademacher Hills with homemade apparatus. One of the two victims, a 28-year-old man, sustained moderate injuries, with a broken arm and wounds to his forehead and knee. His 26-year-old companion was unhurt. The pair was in the mine shaft an estimated five hours before 20 rescue personnel from several local facilities responded to the call to extract the pair from the 40-foot-deep shaft. Apparently, the hikers knew this abandoned mine to be an owl nesting site. Members of the Indian Wells Valley Search and Rescue team were the first to arrive on the scene, tying down long, webbed straps to surrounding boulders for bracing. Once the equipment was in place, search and rescue personnel in climbing gear and hard hats sent down helmets to the two hikers. Both men were alert and talking. The injured hiker, shaking from cold, pain and shock, was carried by paramedics and rescuers in a basket-like Stokes litter to a waiting helicopter and then airlifted to Ridgecrest Regional Hospital. A wire fence surrounding the open mine shaft had been partially dismantled. About 50 feet up a nearby trail, a sign was posted, reading, "Danger� open mine shaft." (Source: The Daily Independent/Ridgecrest, Calif.)