Washington: A 28-year-old Indian-American jumped into a 100-foot mine shaft at a meteor impact site in Arizona to "appease the gods" and was pulled out following a massive eight-hour rescue operation.
Parminder Singh of the Union City in California, who travelled to Arizona, voluntarily jumped feet-first into the vertical mine shaft on January 11, according to witnesses.
Singh, who fell a vertical distance of more than 100 feet, was rescued from the floor of the mine shaft at the bottom of Meteor Crater, a meteor impact site and tourist attraction in Northern Arizona, in a massive effort involving more than 30 rescuers from three different agencies, police said yesterday.
The rescue lasted more than eight hours in temperatures of 20 degrees and below, with a wind chill factor of below zero.
Singh later told police that he intentionally jumped into the shaft in an attempt to "appease the gods".
He was transported to the Flagstaff Medical Center where he is listed in stable condition, the Sheriff Office said.
Singh`s jump inside the crater was first noticed by a Meteor Crater park employee at 4 pm local time following which local officials immediately started the work to rescue him.
Access to the mine shaft was difficult, requiring a one mile hike with a 600-foot drop in elevation to reach the bottom of the crater.
A Guardian Medical Transport Helicopter responded and conducted multiple flights as the crew inserted rescue personnel, the Coconino County Sheriff Office said in a statement.
"As rescuers reached the opening of the shaft, they found it to be surrounded by a seven foot fence topped with several strands of barbed wire. Rescuers were forced to cut their way through to the mine shaft. Personnel learned the suspect fell a vertical distance of more than 100 feet to the bottom of the shaft after he jumped," it said.
"At about 8:22 pm rescuers called out to the victim and heard a muffled reply indicating the victim was still alive. Due to the freezing temperatures and winds, rescuers were not able to understand what the victim was attempting to tell them," it said.
They lowered supplies including food, water, a portable radio, warm clothing and a flash light to the victim, the Sheriff Office said.
"Once he (Singh) received the supplies, he was able to communicate with his rescuers via the radio. He informed them that he believed he had dislocated and broke his right arm, broke one of his legs, and complained of severe pain to both of his legs. He reported frequent episodes of loss of consciousness," the Sheriff said.
According to the Sheriff`s Office, rescuers attempted to construct a rope hoist system that would allow them to enter and exit the shaft.
The soft material surrounding the shaft made it impossible for them to create anchors for the ropes.
Then an employee of HomeCo brought a T-post insertion tool and posts that allowed rescuers to create an anchor system. Thereafter a member of the Flagstaff Fire Department Technical Rescue Team was lowered 100 feet to the victim`s location.
It took an hour to medically assess the victim, provide initial treatment, and prepare him to be lifted 100 feet to safety, the Sheriff Office said.
"The victim who was suffering from severe hypothermia was then carried up the 600-foot incline and a distance of more than a mile to the parking lot of the visitors` centre. Due to the high winds and low temperatures, flying the victim out of the crater was not a safe option," it said.