Firefighters trained to respond to mine shaft falls

Signs warn outsiders to be aware of potentially dangerous mine shafts.

A 13-year-old boy escaped what could have been a near death experience.

Fire crews rescued him from the bottom of a 100-foot mine shaft near Roxborough State Park.

"There is signs warning people," said Assistant Chief Doug Hutchinson with West Metro Fire.

Signs are attached to a barbwire fence let people know to beware of mines.

"A couple teenagers went up to this mine shaft and obviously one of them fell in," Hutchinson said.

The mine shaft is about 100 feet deep.

"The patient was at the bottom of the mine shaft when we got the call," Hutchinson said.

West Metro Fire handled the rescue -- but it took well over an hour to get the teen out.

"About a 45-minute hike in and a 45-minute rope operation to rig the rope the rescuer, retrieve the victim and haul him back up," Hutchinson said.

Rescuers knew what to do and where to go thanks to extensive training.

"We train all year round all of our technical team's rescue included and we've trained at that specific site numerous times so all the crews are familiar with this site," Hutchinson said.

But knowing the area doesn't make the mission less serious - they've had people die in these shafts. Sadly, this isn't the first mine shaft rescue for this department.

RELATED | Teen rescued after falling down 100-foot mine shaft near Roxborough State Park

"We have been up there for both human and animal rescues we got a few dogs in there," Hutchinson said.

This may look picture perfect -- but what's beyond this fence could change that appearance.

"The patient could have easily died, sometimes that’s just how it works out with a little bit of luck but obviously, it could have turned out way different," Hutchinson said.

The department also trains in other areas like Red Rocks, and Clear Creek Canyon -- basically any area along the foothills they feel could be a risk to hikers or people walking along the trails.

The chief said you have to be extremely careful because there are a lot of mine shafts along the front range and not all of them have warning signs.

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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