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News: Top Stories

Man rescued after two days at bottom of mine shaft was searching for gold

NBC News logo NBC News 10/18/2018 Minyvonne Burke and Alex Johnson
a group of people that are standing in the grass: Maricopa County Search and Rescue personnel stand near a mine shaft where a man reportedly fell in to and was trapped. © KPNX Maricopa County Search and Rescue personnel stand near a mine shaft where a man reportedly fell in to and was trapped.

An Arizona man was searching for gold when he fell into a 100-foot-deep mine shaft in a remote desert area sparking an hours-long rescue mission.

John Waddell, 60, was pulled from the abandoned shaft Wednesday night, two days after his carabiner clip broke sending him tumbling 40 to 50 feet into the bottom of the mine.

Terry Shrader said Waddell, his close friend, called him on Monday to say he was trekking out to the remote desert area, located near Aguila about 90 miles northwest of Phoenix, to search for the precious metal.

Waddell often frequented the area, but the two had made a deal that if Waddell wasn't back by Tuesday Shrader needed to search for him.

a man smiling for the camera: Image: John Waddell © Facebook Image: John Waddell

Shrader told NBC News that he became worried on Wednesday when he still had not heard from Waddell.

Luckily, he knew exactly where to find his friend.

"Just as I pulled up in the truck, I could hear him hollering," he said about arriving at the mine shaft.

Shrader said he found an area where he could get cell phone service and called 911. He then dropped water down to his friend as they waited for help.

Waddell's dramatic rescue was caught on video and shows rescue workers using rope to pull the man to safety. It took about five hours before Waddell was removed from the shaft.

He was then flown to a hospital for non-life-threatening injuries, Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Joaquin Enriquez tweeted.

"We are looking forward to his recovery. Great outcome today with all MCSO and law enforcement partners," he wrote.

Shrader said Waddell told him he had to kill three rattlesnakes to keep them from biting him as he waited for someone to find him.

"He's a tough guy," Shrader told NBC's News 12. "I've never seen anything like this. He's got both artificial knees, one of them was messed up pretty bad."

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