A 62-Year-Old Got Trapped in a Snake-Filled Mine for Two Days and Survived
And you thought you were having a shitty week.
Image via screenshot
While the rest of us are crying about the end of Nathan for You and pining over the loss of our nose statues, it turns out some people out there are heroically dealing with actual problems. Earlier this week, a 62-year-old man in Arizona accidentally fell down a 100-foot mine shaft and got stuck there for two days, Fox10 Phoenix reports. Oh, and there were snakes. Poisonous snakes. And you thought you were having a shitty week, right?
John Waddell went up to visit the abandoned mine near Aguila, Arizona, to look for gold on Monday. While he was there, he accidentally toppled down the shaft, luckily surviving the long fall but breaking both of his legs in the process. And that wasn't even the worst of it. While Waddell was down there in the dark, presumably cold and terrified and in excruciating pain from the massive bone fractures, he reportedly realized he wasn't alone in the shaft—he was surrounded by rattlesnakes.
Over the course of the next two days, Waddell managed to survive, fighting and killing three rattlesnakes with his bare hands before they were able to bite him. He had no cell phone service, so he just screamed as loud as he could for help, though he likely knew that the shaft was deep and the mine was isolated and the chances of someone happening to hear him were low.
Luckily, Waddell had mentioned to his neighbor that he was heading to the mine on Monday. When he never appeared back at home, the neighbor leaped into action.
"He called me Monday and told me he was coming to the mine," Waddell's friend and neighbor Terry Schrader told FOX10. "We always had a deal: if he is not back by Tuesday, [come look for him] because he said he would be back Tuesday."
Schrader drove out to the mine to look for Waddell and finally heard the faint cries coming from the mine shaft. "As I pulled out my truck I could hear him hollering, 'Help, help!'" Schrader went on. "I did get enough [cellphone service] that the deputies were on their way."
Schrader called 911 and, soon, rescuers were on the scene, working to get his buddy out of the mine shaft. After six hours, the emergency responders were finally able to lug Waddell back up into the glorious light of day again. He was immediately airlifted to a nearby hospital, where he was treated for the broken limbs and dehydration. It's unclear how many years of psychotherapy it will take before he doesn't wake up with dreams about snakes lunging at him from out of the darkness like some kind of Indiana Jones set piece, though.
Sign up for our newsletter to get the best of VICE delivered to your inbox daily.
Follow VICE on Twitter.