By Mary O’KEEFE
Members of the Montrose Search and Rescue team responded to a victim who had fallen into a shaft in Kagel Canyon on Saturday.
“About 11 a.m. a 58-year-old man and his wife were looking at a piece of property in the Kagel Canyon area when he fell into a shaft,” said Jay Paneno, team member.
The dirt shaft was about 33 feet deep, and 30-to-35 inches in diameter.
“When I arrived I looked into the hole and he was breathing fine and could talk. He said he hadn’t been injured,” Paneno said.
The constant concern with a rescue of this type is to make sure the victim continues to breathe easy without constriction, he added.
“When other team members arrived we built a fortec tripod system over the shaft and constructed a raising system.”
Rescuers had to raise the victim slowly, moving cautiously to prevent more dirt from falling into the hole.
“The [victim] was very calm,” Paneno said.
The man was transported to Huntington Hospital for observation.
The team prepares for this type of rescue during their regular training sessions and several members are underground rescue certified.