Mine rescue

Several agencies responded to two men who had to be rescued Thursday, April 2, from a mine shaft near Quartzsite. The rescue involved a complex rope system that requires special training, a portion of which is seen here. Both men were rescued.

Emergency services has to rescue two men the afternoon of Thursday, April 2, from a mine shaft near Quartzsite. The La Paz County Sheriff’s Office said man in his 70s went into an old mine and fell down a 35-foot deep shaft. Sheriff’s spokesperson Capt. Curt Bagby said the man’s brother tried to get him out of the shaft with a rope, but he got stuck in the shaft too and couldn’t get out.

Neither of the victims were publicly identified.

The men were able to call dispatch and tell them of their situation. The agencies that responded included the Quartzsite Fire and Police Departments, the La Paz County Sheriff’s Office, Buckskin Fire Department, the Arizona Department of Public Safety, and agencies for Mohave and Maricopa County.

On their Facebook page, the Sheriff’s Office said the process of a rescue like this is very detailed and difficult. They have to set up a stabilizer tripod and lower someone down to attach themselves to the victim (without causing further injury), and then be pulled back up.

“Recovering an injured person on a rope rescue from a mineshaft is very difficult and takes specific training,” Bagby said. “There were a lot of resources used but both individuals were recovered successfully.”

A statement from the Sheriff’s Office said both subjects were recovered and treated for their injuries.

The Arizona State Mine Inspector’s Office has been and is warning the public about the dangers of abandoned mines. According to the Bureau of Land Management, 25 people per year die in accidents related to abandoned mines nationwide.

The State Mine Inspector’s Office is a participant in the “Stay Out, Stay Alive” program, a nationwide effort to publicize the dangers of abandoned and active mines. Part of this is the Abandoned Mines Education Program, which makes presentations to schools, clubs and other groups on the dangers of mines. The key points the Mine Inspector’s office wants people to remember from these presentations are these:

  • Never to play in or explore abandoned mines;
  • Never to play around active mines;  
  • Never to jump into quarry pits or ponds in or around mines;
  • Never to swim in rock quarries or gravel/sand pits;
  • Never to climb on rock or gravel piles in mining areas; and
  • To notify authorities if a mine site is found unmarked.

For more information on this program, go to amsi.gov.az/abandoned-mines.

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