Student Rescued After Falling 45ft Down Abandoned Mine Shaft

A University of Colorado-Boulder student has been rescued after falling 45 feet down an abandoned mine shaft, police have said.

According to the Boulder County Sheriff's, the 19-year-old student from Connecticut was out with friends on Saturday night when he fell down the mine shaft just off Switzerland Trail, west of Boulder.

Despite falling some 45 feet down the mine shaft the teenager was not injured, although he did need help getting out.

BCSO officers were alerted at 11:53 p.m. on Saturday and first responders found the group of friends on Forest Service Road 211A.

Rescue teams needed utility all-terrain vehicles in order to reach the mine shaft. They later used rope to help the student climb out.

In a public update shared on Sunday, the BCSO said the rescue operation took about three and a half hours.

The statement read: "The Boulder County Sheriff's Office was notified of a male subject who had fallen approximately 25 feet into an abandoned mine shaft just off the Switzerland Trail. Friends of the male subject reported that the subject was uninjured, just needed assistance getting out."

It added: "Members of the Fourmile Fire Protection District, the Sunshine Fire Protection District, and the Sheriff's Office were only able to access the scene using utility all-terrain vehicles (UTVs).

"The 19-year-old CU student from Connecticut was then aided, using a rope system, in climbing back out of the mine shaft. The rescue took approximately three- and one-half hours.

"Agencies assisting with this rescue effort included: Boulder County Sheriff's Office, American Medical Response (AMR), Boulder Emergency Squad, Four Mile Fire Protection District, Sugarloaf Fire Protection District, Sunshine Fire Protection District and the Rocky Mountain Rescue Group."

Newsweek has contacted the BCSO for comment.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, The Switzerland Trail is an old railroad grade that made its way across the mountains in Boulder County.

The railroad once transported people, supplies and ore between mining communities between 1883 to 1919.

Drivers and hikers now use the trail on designated open routes with the best seasons to travel being from May through to December.

Like many other former mining sites, there are abandoned sites with an estimated 23,000 being found in the state alone, according to the Colorado Geological Survey.

It added abandoned mines have degraded over the decades from a number of processes that have left many dangerous.

Stock photo of Colorado mountains
Stock photo of theof the Colorado Rocky Mountains on the Dallas Divide . The student was rescued from the abandoned mine shaft. Gary Gray/Getty