Man trapped in Arizona mine shaft for days, rescued

Blanche Robertson
October 21, 2018

For the next two days, Waddell fought off a trio of of rattlesnakes and battled dehydration in the deep hole 90 miles northwest of Phoenix.

(Photo: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) The rescue team prepared to rescue Waddell who was at the bottom of a mine shaft with two broken legs.

John Waddell, 62, was lowering himself into a 100ft (30m) gold mine shaft, when his equipment broke, said a friend who found him.

Another friend, Mike Balowski, told KSAZ-TV that he believes Mr Waddell killed the rattlesnakes because he was hungry. Waddell was unable to speak about his ordeal because he was still being treated in a hospital, his friend said.

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Shrader has been friends and neighbors with Waddell for eight years, and it was a pact the two had that saved Waddell's life.

"That's pretty much a common situation around here, having a mining claim", said Shrader. "One of them is messed up", said Shrader. Shrader said, I've been around a few rescues, but never anything like this. "There's a lot of good gold out there, but it's slow-going the way he's doing it, just picking away".

Shrader said, "he had called me Monday and told me he was coming to the mine". "As I pulled up my truck, I could hear him hollering, 'Help, help.'" Schrader adds, per ABC15, that "the carabiner broke, I guess, and he supposedly fell 40 to 50 feet". "I was just glad to see him alive".

One rescuer rappelled into the shaft and assessed Waddell's injuries, determining that he had possible ankle and leg fractures as well as friction burns to his hands. He was alert, but dehydrated and was given IV fluids. "And we always had a deal, if he is not back by Tuesday [to come check on him, ]" Shrader said. It took about three hours to lift Waddell to safety. Alexis Kramer-Ainza, spokeswoman at Banner University Medical Center Phoenix, said Waddell was in good condition on Friday.

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