Rescue halted for man trapped in mine

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jacknv7
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Rescue halted for man trapped in mine

Post by jacknv7 » Fri Mar 04, 2011 11:33 pm

Rescue halted for man trapped, spotted in abandoned Nevada mine
From Melanie Whitley, CNN - March 4, 2011 3:28 p.m. EST

(CNN) -- Citing perilous conditions, rescuers halted their efforts Friday to save a man who fell into an abandoned northern Nevada mine, making their decision hours after video footage showed signs of life.

The 28-year-old man plunged into part of what's called Murphy's Mine Complex on Wednesday, according to JoLynn Worley, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. At 3 a.m. Friday, a camera recording him showed that the man was breathing but no movement.

Still, by Friday afternoon, the rescue operation was suspended, said Worley.

"It appears that due to the hazardous and dangerous conditions of that shaft, the rescue efforts were stopped," she said.

The man, who has not been identified, fell into the shaft in part of Pershing County, located about 60 miles south of the city of Winnemuca. The complex dates back to 1895 and had been abandoned.

Rescuers from the sheriff's offices of Pershing and Landers counties, as well as from search and rescue teams affiliated with the Newmont Mining Corporation, Washoe County and the U.S. Navy tried to locate the man Thursday. Several rescuers went down into the shaft, but were not able to get to the man, according to Worley.

But a camera was sent down did pinpoint his location, feeding up images to authorities on the outside. As of 8 p.m., footage showed that the man was alive and moving his hands.

http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/03/04/nevada ... tml?hpt=T2

Moly Man
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Post by Moly Man » Sat Mar 05, 2011 12:05 pm

Just heard about this story this morning on the Saturday morning news...at this point some 3 three days after the man first fell into the shaft, it sounds like the man did succumb to his injuries. Don't have any info on the Murphy mine complex. Does anyone know if the shaft in question was a surface or interior shaft? My condolences to this man's family.

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Post by jacknv7 » Sat Mar 05, 2011 8:38 pm


D.A. Wright
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Post by D.A. Wright » Mon Mar 07, 2011 10:46 am

Moly Man wrote:Don't have any info on the Murphy mine complex.
The mine is also known as the Rex. It is located in Jersey Valley, on the western slopes of the Fish Creek Range near the valley floor.

News accounts on TV were rather confusing and somewhat vague, but it appears that the man was an employee at a nearby geothermal plant and was on his day off and poking about the mines with a couple of friends.

KNBC Channel 4 in Reno had the most coverage of this, you should be able to Google to find video of the reports from the station's website, as the station has a sizeable online presence.
D.A. Wright
~When You Live in Nevada, "just down the road" is anywhere in the line of sight within the curvature of the earth.

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Post by D.A. Wright » Thu Mar 10, 2011 11:10 am

Humboldt Sun - Winnemucca, NV wrote:The Humboldt Sun (Winnemucca, NV)
Issue of March 8-10,2011

WYOMING MAN DIES AFTER FALLING DOWN ABANDONED MINE SHAFT
Man has family members
in Winnemucca
By Heather Singer
The Humboldt Sun

WINNEMUCCA - A 28-yearold Evanston, Wyo., man died March 4 after extensive injuries obtained in falling approximately 182 feet down a crooked abandoned mine shaft in Jersey Valley.

The accident happened just before noon on March 2 and Devin Westenskow, who has relatives in Winnemucca, was pronounced dead by the Pershing County deputy coroner at 11:55 a.m. March 4.

The mine shaft was located approximately 36 miles south of Battle Mountain, just over the Lander County line into Pershing County.

A massive search and rescue effort, which was led and coordinated by Lander County Sheriff Ron Unger, failed to reach the man, who died at the bottom of the shaft. Pershing County Sheriff Rich Machado also assisted in the rescue efforts, said Unger.

Unger said Westenskow and two friends were exploring the area just before Westenskow crawled into the mine shaft and slipped and fell.

During the three-day period, around 30 to 40 rescuers were on scene each day. Unger said no one was able to reach the victim and his body will remain permanently at the bottom of the mine, which was active until 1947.The mine shaft is to be sealed up soon by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), said Unger.

Family members from Winnemucca and Westenskow's parents, Denise and Carl Westenskow, were at the scene.

Unger said all rescue efforts were halted just before dawn on March 4 after it was determined that further rescue attempts would be too dangerous and could cost other lives. At that time all available resources had been exhausted. said Unger.

"We tried absolutely everything humanly possible to save this young man," said Unger.

Reaching the victim was too treacherous since the mine shaft was unstable, said Unger, who added that several people did descend into the mine shaft, but could not reach the injured man.

Rescuers and volunteers came from numerous agencies across the state and included Lander County Search and Rescue, the Lander County Public Works department and the Lander County Sheriff's Office, the Battle Mountain Volunteer Fire Department, Battle Mountain Ambulance Service, the Pershing County Sheriff's Office, Pershing County Search and Rescue, OSHA and the BLM.

Those on scene also included Phoenix Mine Rescue, two teams from Newmont's Carlin Underground Mine Rescue Team, the Washoe County Sheriff's Rescue Hasty Team, a helicopter from Naval Air Station Fallon (that air lifted rescuers to the scene), the Nevada Department of Minerals, a Nevada mine safety inspector and Ormat Technologies Inc., said Unger.

"It was a very stressful situation for all those involved," he said. "I thank God for all the resources that were out there to help us."

The victim was a driller for DHS Drilling Co. and members of the company were also on scene, said Unger.

Unger used the office at the Jersey Valley Power Plant as the incident command center.

Unger said the Nevada Division of Emergency Management was not on scene but coordinated NAS Fallon's helicopter service. An Access Air helicopter was on standby.

A Newmont camera was originally lowered into the shaft March 2 to find the victim, said Unger. When that camera broke and was unable to be repaired, a robotic camera was obtained from the Lander County Public Works Department, said Unger. Rescuers had to partially descend the mine shaft in order to feed the camera through the twisting passageway.

The camera reached the victim on the second day and could only capture Westenskow's chest area, which showed he was breathing, said Unger. The camera remained trained on the victim's chest area until Westenskow stopped breathing March 4.

Unger said anyone who finds an abandoned mine shaft should contact the BLM.

"I hope people out there who find these old mine shafts stay away from them," he said.



OTBITUARY
JAMES DEVIN WESTENSKOW

Image

Died on 03 04 2011 at 11:55 AM due to blunt force trauma caused from a fall in the old Murphy (Rex) Mine. The Murphy Mine is located in Jersey Valley, Pershing County, NV. Devin was exploring mines with fellow co-workers and he slipped and fell 180 ft. to his death. Extensive efforts were made by the Lander Co. Sherrifs office, Search & Rescue Teams, Newmont Search & Rescue Teams, Washoe County Search & Rescue Teams, NAS Fallon Search & Rescue Teams.

Devin was born on May 13, 1982 in Layton, Utah, to Carl and Denise Westenskow. Devin lived and attended school in Evanston Wyo. Devin attended grade school and high school in Evanston. Devin completed his GED in Rock Springs, Wyo.

Devin worked in Oil Rigs and Drilling Rigs, throughout Wyoming, Colorado, North Dakota and Nevada.

Devin was currently employed as a driller for DHS drilling in Jersey Valley, NV. Jersey Valley is about sixty miles south of Battle Mountain, NV. His company worked with geo-thermal energy.

Devin was the proud father of Alexis Marie, Carl James (CJ), Solon Moroni, Damian Everett, and Kooper James.

Devin was a good father. Devin was an avid hunter and snowmobiler. Devin had a great love for horses.

Devin was preceded in death by his Grandfather; Don Westenskow and DJ (Chuck) Hickenbotham, uncles; David Westenskow and Craig Hickenbotham.

Devin is survived by his parents Carl and Denise Westenskow, Evanston, Wyo., sister Misty and Travis Moesser, Jack and Charlie Moesser.

Grandmothers; Charleen Hickenbotham, and Lois Westenskow of Layton, Utah, aunts Kaylene and (Jim) Carter, Sunset, Utah, Terrie and (Kevin) Hughes, W. Point, Utah, Kristie and (Don) Ruth), Denise and Alisa Westenskow, Kathryn and (Brad) Brown all of Layton, Utah. Uncles; Bret Hickenbotham, Syracuse, Utah, Alan Westenskow of Layton, Utah.

Devin had numerous cousins and two nephews.

Devin is survived by his daughter Lexi and four sons; CJ, Solon, Damian and Kooper. Devin's fiancée, Lori Revelli of Evanston, Wyo.

Devin will be greatly missed by his children, parents, sister, family, friends, co-workers and all who knew and loved him.

Memorial Mass will be held on Friday, March 11, 2011, at Noon at the Catholic Church in Evanston, Wyo.
D.A. Wright
~When You Live in Nevada, "just down the road" is anywhere in the line of sight within the curvature of the earth.

Moly Man
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Post by Moly Man » Sat Mar 12, 2011 8:15 pm

I read one account stating that the victim felll down a stope after the trail he was following collasped under his weight. If this is the case, it could explain why Search and Rescue Personnel were unable to rappel straight down to Mr. Westenskow without rock and other debris raining down on both the victim and rescue personnel. I'm not sure as to the accuracy of this account- it was posted under the comments section of one of the online newspapers out of Nevada.

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