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 Post subject: Man falls into shaft, NV
PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2011 8:10 pm 
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RENO, Nev. - Authorities say a man who was injured after plunging nearly 200 feet into a rural Nevada mine shaft has died.

U.S. Bureau of Land Management spokesman Doran Sanchez said the 28-year-old Battle Mountain, Nev., man was pronounced dead at 12:30 p.m. Friday by the Pershing County officials.

Authorities say the mine shaft was so treacherous that they abandoned efforts to reach him even when he was still alive. Federal officials gave first word of the death to The Associated Press on Saturday afternoon.

County authorities plan to release the man's name and further details later.

Authorities said Friday that the man was still alive but any rescue attempt would have posed too great a risk to people trying to descend into the pit. Earlier it was revealed that a priest had given last rites to the man when the man was still alive but after any rescue attempt was deemed too great a risk to anyone trying to descend into the pit.

A video camera determined the man was still breathing after plunging 190 feet into the shaft on Wednesday in Jersey Valley, northeast of Reno.

The video camera showed the man was breathing but not moving and had suffered serious head injuries. Images taken Thursday night revealed he had been moving his hands.

"The mine is so unstable that walls were crumbling and rocks were hitting rescuers on the head when they tried to reach him," JoLynn Worley, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, told The Associated Press. "They're people who will make every effort to save someone, but they really can't get to him. It would endanger the lives of rescuers."

Authorities intended to keep monitoring the mine shaft until the man stopped breathing, Worley said.

"I know some of his family members were out there," she said.

The man was working in the area with a geothermal drilling crew and visited the shaft with two friends during off-hours.

The shaft is among 10 such openings in the Murphy Mine Complex in Pershing County that originally was mined around 1895 and was last worked in 1945, Worley said.

From 265,000 to 310,000 abandoned mine shafts and openings are scattered across Nevada, she said, and federal and state agencies have an ongoing advertising campaign urging the public to stay away because of the danger.

About 50,000 abandoned mine shafts have been identified as the most hazardous, but the shaft where the man fell wasn't among them, Worley said.

Authorities have been closing shafts that pose the most danger near urban and recreation areas.

"People's curiosity sometimes gets the best of them," she said. "These were way out in the middle of nowhere where few people would venture."

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2011 8:11 pm 
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Update:

The man who fell into an abandoned northern Nevada mine earlier this week has been declared dead, an official said Saturday.
U.S. Bureau of Land Management spokesman Doran Sanchez said the Pershing County, Nevada, coroner made the determination around 12:30 Friday afternoon.
Sanchez said there was no safe way to retrieve the body and that the shaft would be sealed.
The 28-year-old man, who has not been identified, plunged into part of what's called Murphy's Mine Complex on Wednesday, officials have said.
Rescue teams were called in, but operations were abandoned shortly after authorities determined that sending anyone into the shaft would be too dangerous, given the mine's age and instability.
They lowered a camera that showed the man still breathing as of 3 a.m. Friday.
Sanchez said the young man had suffered severe head and body trauma injuries during the accident.
The man fell into the shaft in part of Pershing County, located about 60 miles south of the city of Winnemuca. The complex dates back to 1895 and had been abandoned.
He worked as a contract employee of a drilling company, said Sanchez, adding that the 28-year-old grew up and lived in the local community.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 11:50 pm 
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Very sad. My thoughts are with him and his family. It is unfortunate there was no safe or alternative ways to reach him.

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