A 62-year-old Arizona man went full Indiana Jones after falling down a 30-metre mine shaft, breaking both of his legs, fending off three rattlesnakes, and surviving without food or water for 48 hours.
According to Maricopa County Sheriff’s office (MCSO), John Waddell was rescued Wednesday after falling down an abandoned gold mine shaft on Monday, just north of Phoenix.
“He is a very, very, fortunate individual,” Roger Yensen, commander of the MCSO Mountain Rescue Posse, told reporters Thursday. “Everything worked out very favourably for him.”
Terry Shrader, Waddell’s friend and neighbour, explained to ABC15 News that the man had told him on Monday that he was going to explore the mine, which is located on the property Waddell owns.
“He called me Monday and told me he was coming to the mine. And we always had a deal, if he is not back by Tuesday ,” Shrader said. “Since he didn’t come home yesterday, I was bound and determined to come out here today.”
WATCH: Arizona mine shaft rescue crews describe pulling man from pit
According to MCSO, Waddell was lowering himself down the shaft with a rope when he lost control.
“From what we understand, he just lost the ability to control the friction on the descent down the rope, and had an accelerated lowering in the shaft,” Yensen told reporters.
Shrader told ABC15 that he heard Waddell’s cry for help when he arrived at the shaft.
“As I pulled out my truck, I could hear him hollering ‘Help, help!’” he said.
It took over six hours and more than a dozen rescuers to free Waddell from the shaft.
“So, we approached it very carefully, very cautiously. We just take our time making sure we do it correctly and we’re not going to cause any injury,” Yensen said. “We average one of these about every 12 to 16 months.”
As for the snakes, Yensen said Waddell “had dealt with them before we arrived.”
The man was airlifted to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, where he is undergoing treatment for dehydration, ankle and leg fractures and rope burns to the hands.
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