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Teen using clothes line to rappel shaft rescued from Golden mine

Posted at 1:59 PM, Dec 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-08 02:54:40-05

GOLDEN, Colo. — Emergency crews rescued a 15-year-old boy who fell while rappelling down an abandoned mine shaft with rope commonly used as a clothes line, officials said.

West Metro Fire crews said the teen was conscious and talking with rescuers when he was pulled from the shaft, located toward the north end of Rooney Road on the hogback in Golden. The extent of his injuries is unknown.

Crews say the teen was rappelling down the shaft using the inferior nylon rope, purchased at a local hardware store, when it snapped, causing him to fall. Rescue crews got the call around 11 a.m. Thursday.

After arriving at the opening of the mine shaft, crews made verbal contact with the injured teen as they coordinated a technical rope rescue.

Moments later, the first rescuer sent down the shaft made visual contact with the teen. He was found nearly 300 feet down from the opening with an injured leg. It's unclear how far he fell.

Around 1:30 p.m., crews announced they reached the teen and were in the process of pulling him out. However, falling rock and debris made some of those efforts difficult.  

About 30 minutes later, aerial footage from AIRTRACKER 7 showed the teen was out and placed on a backboard. Paramedics transported the teen to the hospital to treat his injuries.

Watch the moment the teen was pulled from the shaft in the AIRTRACKER 7 video below:

Fire officials said the type of rope the teen used should never be used for rappelling. Durable climbing rope can cost hundreds of dollars but are worth every penny to prevent failure, they said. 

West Metro fire crews were joined by multiple other agencies as they worked to rescue the teen.