News & Politics

After Falling Down a Mine Shaft, Arizona Man Kills 3 Rattlesnakes to Survive

Being trapped underground surrounded by snakes is the stuff of nightmares for any sane person. One Arizona man found himself living that nightmare after falling down a mine shaft while hiking and climbing. Thankfully, he was rescued two days later, but not before he was forced to kill three rattlesnakes in order to survive.

After hiking and exploring the surrounding area, John Waddell, 62, fell down the abandoned mineshaft during his attempt to climb down it. After his carabiner broke, Waddell fell some 40 to 50 feet, breaking several bones in his legs. While in the mine shaft, without food and water, the man discovered that he wasn’t alone. Several rattlesnakes were in the mine shaft with him, and Waddell was forced to kill three in order to survive.

While it probably wasn’t smart to go exploring in the area alone, especially since there are signs posted warning against doing just that, Waddell wisely told his friend and neighbor where he was going. His friend agreed to check on him if he didn’t return in a couple of days.

After being trapped a the bottom of the 100-foot deep mineshaft for two days, Waddell was rescued. His friend, Terry Schrader, after becoming concerned that he hadn’t heard from Waddell, went looking for him. Schrader heard Waddell’s cries for help and was able to locate him. He then called the authorities. Patch reports:

Search and rescue teams were brought in and a medic was lowered into the shaft, located about 70 miles northeast of Phoenix near Eagle Eye Road and Mile Post 13 in Aguila. Once the man was pulled out, emergency responders airlifted him to a hospital with injuries. He is expected to survive, [Sgt. Joaquin]Enriquez said.

Outside of some broken bones and a cool story to tell, Waddell is no worse for the wear. However, this story could’ve just as easily been a tragic one. It is never a good idea to go hiking and climbing in remote areas alone. Unexpected things can happen, as Waddell discovered. It’s also important to have water with you just in case something like this happens. Thankfully, his friend followed through on his promise to check on Waddell if he hadn’t heard from him. Let’s hope that Waddell’s solo hiking and climbing days are now behind him.