In Depth

Walker pulled from 50ft Cornish mine shaft

Emergency services work for six hours to rescue injured man from abandoned pit near St Just

A walker spent six hours trapped underground after plunging 50ft into a disused mine shaft.

The man, said to be Welsh and in his mid-50s, was eventually rescued following a delicate multi-agency operation involving the police, coastguard, paramedics and fire and rescue service.

The accident happened around midday on Sunday near Porth Nanven beach, on the St Just coastal path. The walker was part of a group hiking along the popular west Cornwall circuit, the BBC reports.

Devon and Cornwall Police attended the scene and called in the coastguard for support shortly after 1pm. Paramedics and fire and rescue personnel also participated in the rescue attempt, which involved a total of 50 people, Cornwall Live reports.

Two emergency services workers were winched into the 50ft shaft to perform first aid on the man, who was immobilised with a suspected broken hip. Police later described him as “shaken but able to talk, very cold, in a lot of pain and trapped on a ledge”.

Cornwall Search and Rescue Team said the man had suffered “significant injuries” in the fall, Pirate FM reports.

A video uploaded to Facebook by the team showed the challenges facing the rescuers, who used ropes and pulleys to navigate the narrow crevice.

After six hours, the man was successfully brought to the surface and airlifted to Derriford hospital in Plymouth to be treated for injuries sustained in the fall as well as hypothermia. 

It is not known how the man came to fall into the abandoned pit, but there are several disused shafts in the historic mining region. The BBC reports that safety checks are being carried out in the area, while the National Trust, which manages the route, warned walkers to take extra care. 

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