JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– Crews with West Metro Fire Rescue rushed to rescue a teenager who was trapped in an old mine shaft near Golden. More than three hours after he fell, crews finally pulled him out.
Rescue crews gathered around the 15-year-old after he was brought out of the deep hole.
A short time later, he was brought up the hill to waiting medical personnel.
“It was quite an extended rescue,” said Golden Fire Chief Bob Burrell.
The teen’s brother, Jordan, talked to CBS4’s Dillon Thomas and says it’s a place that he has been to before.
“He’s done this numerous times and it’s been a concern of the family. It’s unsafe. We didn’t think much of it until now,” said Jordan.
The teen was climbing in the old mine shaft when his rope snapped and he fell about 60 feet down the deep hole off of West Colfax Avenue and Interstate 70 about 10:20 a.m. Thursday. He was already 40 feet down when he fell, so rescuers had to bring him up from 100 feet below.
Copter4 flew over the rescue attempt as crews lowered one person after another with a rope system into the hole in hopes of rescuing the teen trapped inside.
Crews have verbal contact with him but could not see him as of 12:15 p.m.
Shortly after, West Metro tweeted an update that they had made contact with him.
Also making the rescue more difficult, the hole did not go straight down, so crews had to maneuver their way through the uneven surface of the abandoned shaft.
The teen suffered a broken leg. He had a friend with him who went to get help after the fall. That friend is the one who helped guide crews to the old mine shaft.
He was rushed to St. Anthony’s Hospital for treatment.
Firefighters with Golden Fire told CBS4 that the type of rope the teen was using was nylon rope purchased at a hardware store and was usually used to “hang laundry not rappel.”
“They had no climbing gear with them, they had no helmets, they were dressed in sweatshirts and sweaters. They weren’t prepared for anything,” said Burrell.
Those taking part in the rescue said that the old mine shaft was previously covered but naturally opened this past spring.
“It is not covered at all, it is wide open. It is completely accessible,” Burrell said. “I think this is kids being kids, exploring a hole that they thought would be exciting.”
Burrell said he hopes the hole will be closed soon to prevent another incident from happening again.
Dillon Thomas is a reporter at CBS4 and a Colorado native. He believes everyone has a story, and would love to share yours! You can find more of his stories by following him on Twitter, @DillonMThomas.