AGUILA, Arizona – An Arizona man should be a bit more comfortable in a hospital bed having spent two days stuck at the bottom of a 100-foot mine shaft.
Believed to have been descending into the gold mine shaft near Aguila, 90 miles northwest of Phoenix, when he fell Monday, 62-year-old John Waddell suffered two broken legs, per FOX 10. But his hardships didn’t end there.
The father also battled three rattlesnakes (now dead) and severe dehydration over 48 hours without food or water before a neighbor discovered him Wednesday.
Terry Schrader had agreed to check on Waddell at the shaft if he didn’t return by Tuesday, though it was Wednesday before he actually went searching.
“I was afraid of what I was going to find,” Schrader says. “As I pulled up my truck, I could hear him hollering, ‘Help, help.'” Schrader adds, per ABC15, that “the carabiner broke, I guess, and he supposedly fell 40 to 50 feet.”
Though Waddell had a phone, there was no cell service; Schrader had to drive out of the desert to call authorities.
The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office organized the rescue beginning around 2pm, reports the Arizona Republic. It took more than six hours and a team of more than a dozen before Waddell could be airlifted to a hospital.
“We are looking forward to his recovery,” an MCSO rep says. Regardless of his screams as he was removed from the shaft, “he’s a tough guy,” Schrader says. (Rescuers decided to abandon efforts to pull a man out of a Nevada mine shaft.)