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Mine Hazard Awareness Campaign

"Near Miss" Incident Information File

Two Durango, Colo., residents and two friends from Tempe, Ariz., were rescued from an abandoned mine in which they had become lost. Members of La Plata County Search & Rescue and the Durango Fire & Rescue Authority brought the three men and a woman out of Bell Cave, also known as Weaver Mine, after spending 10 hours inside. The mine, located about 15 miles north of Durango, was the site of a rescue in 1986. The explorers, whose ages ranged from 18 to 48, were amateur spelunkers.

Weaver Mine has pockets of bad air, according to a spokesman from the La Plata Sheriff's Office. The condition is most prevalent when the ground has been frozen for extended periods such as this past winter. The spokesman also noted that explorers become disoriented because Weaver Mine has many side shafts. After realizing they were lost, the spelunkers began checking the shafts in search of an exit. They had no food or rescue equipment, just a bottle of water. (Source: Durango Herald)