Man survives 35-metre fall down mine shaft

A man fell 35 metres into a disused mine at Golden Point, near Castlemaine in Victoria on Saturday.

A man fell 35 metres into a disused mine at Golden Point, near Castlemaine in Victoria on Saturday.

The 69-year-old was trapped for more than an hour after falling at about 5.50pm.

The man remained conscious and was able to communicate with his rescuers above the ground.

Ambulance Victoria spokesman John Mullen said the man who had suffered numerous injuries was lifted out over several stages.

"He has got facial injuries, he's got a knee injury, he's got a leg fracture and he's got an arm fracture.

"They took him out and they've taken him to the Chewton Football Oval, and then he will be flown to the Royal Melbourne Hospital."

A CFA mine emergency response team from Bendigo and 11 volunteers from the Castlemaine SES unit were involved in the rescue, the SMH reported.

Mullen said the man had been with a walking group when he fell.

The group of about 10 walkers had travelled about 50 metres along the horizontal section of the mine before the man fell down the shaft.  

SES Castlemaine unit controller Bob Pratt said rescuers had to be lowered into the shaft to stabilise and retrieve the man.

“He was heavily traumatised,” Pratt said. 

“He’d been down there for some time before we could facilitate the rescue.

“Once we’d accessed him and he’d been treated on the scene we still had probably 400 or 500 metres of extremely rough ground to carry him in the stretcher by hand.”

Pratt told the Bendigo Advertiser that carrying out mine shaft rescues is a precarious task.

“You’ve got to firstly make sure the rescuers are safe and it’s a safe environment that you’re going into,” he said.

“A lot of mine shafts have stale air or no air. It takes a lot of assessment before the rescue because we don’t want to pull two or three people out.” 

A hospital spokeswoman said the man remained in a stable condition.

Pratt warned that exploring mine sites can be extremely dangerous. 

“There are thousands of them pocketed around this area that people don’t even know are there,” he said. 

“Some have grown over the top of sticks and leaves. 

“It’s extremely dangerous. 

“The best suggestion is never go into an old mine shaft; you don’t know what’s in there. 

“If you must do it, never do it alone and make sure you’re equipped with local knowledge.”

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