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 Post subject: Man Rescued After Falling into an Abandoned Gold Mine
PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2008 9:18 am 
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Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2005 1:59 am
Posts: 40
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Compiled from various media sources

Sonora, California — Darvis Lee, Jr., 34, was pulled from the Leo Mine, off Jack Page Road on Bureau of Land Management property, about 5:50 AM Sunday morning after spending nearly 42 hours at the bottom of the mineshaft he'd tumbled down.

Search-and-rescue workers from Tuolumne and Los Angeles Counties pulled Darvis Lee, Jr., of Sonora, CA, from the mine after lowering a rescue worker and a mesh basket into the chasm, according to the Tuolumne County Sheriff's Department. He was released from the local hospital where he was treated for back and leg injuries. His father, Darvis Lee, Sr., said his son was at home and recovering from injuries including chipped bones in his neck, foot, and back, and several lacerations. "He is scraped from the top of his head to his toes. Big bruising too," said Lee Sr.

Lee, Jr. fell into the shaft after he went to explore the mine with a friend, Nathan Grinsell, 33, of Stent, CA. Grinsell said Lee, Jr., who lived near the mine, went in by himself about 9:30 PM. "I didn't want to go," Grinsell said, "so I waited outside the mine for him until about 11:00 PM. I finally decided to try to find him, but I couldn't, so I put his Pepsi and a lantern outside the mine's entrance and went home. I figured he was having a good time exploring, and he'd be okay because he lived right there."

About 150 yards back into the dimly lit passage, Lee, who had a flashlight, fell 15 feet down a vertical shaft, slid at an angle for about 25 feet, and then fell an additional 50 to 70 feet into a pool of water, officials said.

Grinsell couldn't reach Lee, Jr. by phone Saturday morning, so he returned to the mine. "When I saw the Pepsi and lantern still there, I knew he hadn't made it out," Grinsell said. "That's when I went for help." A neighbor, Donald Nute, who was familiar with the mine, went to look for Lee. He was able to make verbal contact with him, said Tuolumne County Sheriff's Deputy Paul Tualla. Nute said Lee told him his legs were injured.

His rescue was delayed because local law enforcement did not have the right equipment and expertise for the job. In the meantime, early Saturday evening, local authorities lowered Lee a helmet, food and water, and a harness to him and the long wait for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's search-and-rescue team—which finally arrived after Midnight—began.

Lying in the back of a pickup truck, Lee apologized for the incident. "I walked in there, and I fell. It was dark, and I didn't know when I was going to stop" he told a local newspaper reporter. "I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry."

Lee, Jr. was examined and received several X-rays at Sonora Regional Medical Center on Sunday, Lee Sr. said. "He's really banged up bad. Got a lot of pain in his back," Lee, Sr. said of his son, who works in landscaping. "Other than a lot of pain, he's getting along."

Lee, Sr. lauded rescuers' response and dedication getting his son out. "It was exciting to see him come out. Quite a relief," he said. "The rescuers did quite a job—as hard as they were working, and the number of hours they worked. It was really cool to see the state come together."

The rope rescue experts from Los Angeles were required for the effort because of the shaft angles involved.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2008 9:56 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 08, 2005 12:41 pm
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Location: Hard coal region, PA
curiosity almost killed that cat......

whats amazing to me is that his outside buddy just left assuming he was fine.....

Assume nothing!

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 11:29 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2005 11:33 pm
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Location: Above the Sterling Hill Mine
Yeah, he was certainly very lucky. This is one of the reasons why we always go in groups when we go to document a mine. In the event something did happen, we'd know about it right away. This this case, the friend of the man who got trapped went home and came back. I'm glad everything is okay..

Miner Greg


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2008 2:03 pm 
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Location: Winnemucca, NV
And I also want to mention it is always good to tell people where you are going. The man survived the fall alright but lets say this happened and he was alone, and no one knew he was there. Safety first, then history.

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"If you thought old, abandoned mines were only in the west, then you haven't been to IronMiners.com!"


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2008 3:28 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2005 11:33 pm
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Location: Above the Sterling Hill Mine
Agreed.. It is always important to let people know where you are as you never know if you will be in a situation where you cannot get out. The world is a big place, if someone he trapped underground, there is no cell phone service. You have to wait until someone finds you. If you don't tell anyone where you are, your chances of someone finding you is significantly reduced.

Miner Greg


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 1:56 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 24, 2009 10:01 pm
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Location: Sonora CA
Hey Guys..Thanks for all the great replies to My story. I have read a lot of bad feed back on other sites. Seems like the guys that actually like mining and exploring are less critical.

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Darvis Lee Jr


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 2:18 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2005 11:33 pm
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Location: Above the Sterling Hill Mine
Yeah all I can say is that I am very glad that you were found and that you made it out alive - in one piece. Unfortunately not all stories like yours conclude with a happy ending. Mines can be very dangerous as we all know.

I'd be curious to know if you still do frequent mine in your area or did this scary ordeal end your interest in mines? I certainly understand if you would rather not talk about it and in that case I am glad you had such a positive outcome on such an unfortunate situation.

Miner Greg


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 2:26 pm 
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Location: Sonora CA
Greg....
Actually those old mines still call My name. We live on a private dead end road and I know of at leat 50 caves up there. I haven't gone in any but I hike around often.

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Darvis Lee Jr


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