A father of five children has died after falling into a mine shaft so deep and treacherous that rescuers had to abandon efforts to reach him while he was still alive.
Devin Westenskow, 28, of Evanston, Wyo., worked at a geothermal drilling operation in Nevada and had gone exploring Wednesday with two friends during his off-hours when he fell 190 feet into the open shaft northeast of Reno.
His family thanked rescue workers in a statement that also identified Westenskow.
“We feel they did everything possible to rescue Devin, but that there was no way to get him out alive given the extent of his injuries and instability of the mine shaft,” the statement said. “We are forever grateful for their efforts.”
The decision to end the rescue came after two unsuccessful attempts by search teams to descend into the shaft, where Westenskow was trapped in debris, said Doran Sanchez, a U.S. Bureau of Land Management spokesman…
Westenskow was given his last rites Friday. He was pronounced dead at 12:30 p.m. that day, after the Pershing County coroner’s office determined he had stopped breathing by reviewing images from a video camera they had lowered into shaft, Sanchez said.
Word of the death was not released until Saturday because there was no cell phone service in the remote area for authorities to stay in contact…
About 50,000 abandoned mine shafts have been identified as the most hazardous in Nevada, but the shaft where the man fell wasn’t among them, BLM officials said.
The agency plans to permanently seal the shaft and several other openings in the area by Monday, Sanchez said.
Probably the saddest story of the weekend. RTFA to know a little more about it.
My first take on the story had only the too-brief wire story and the equally useless articles from the newspapers that copied it. I’m glad I found this much more complete tale from the AP in the Tacoma News-Tribune. I know now that people tried very hard to save this man’s life – risking their own – until it was proved certain to be fruitless.
As I put this to bed [me too] – I can see journalists around the world picking up the AP story online. Some of them credit Martin Griffith of the AP. Some don’t. Hard copy life ain’t much different from life online.