BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) – A 19-year-old University of Colorado student fell about 45 feet down an abandoned mine shaft on Saturday night, the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office said.
Rescue crews used utility all-terrain vehicles to reach the mine shaft near the Switzerland Trail off of Forest Service Road 211A after the sheriff’s office received a call about 11:53 p.m..
“From the ropes, we could tell he was down about 50 feet. He had gone into the mine, slipped and went down and landed on one shelf, fell off of the shelf, went down another 25 feet or so and landed. That’s where he was when we arrived on scene,” said Andrew Goldman, fire chief of Sugar Loaf Fire Protection District.
Goldman said accessing the area was difficult in the middle of the night.
“It’s pitch black, you’re driving down a road that you have maybe half a foot on either side and it’s a cliff on the other, so you have to be careful,” Goldman said.
Goldman said it’s unclear how deep the mine is and the student is lucky he wasn’t hurt.
“That mine could be hundreds of feet deep, we just don’t know. If he would have gotten stuck or injured that would have been a different rescue,” said Goldman.
He said they plan to take steps to get the mine shaft closed off permanently to prevent future accidents.