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Pair Out Of Mine After Overnight Ordeal

June 20, 1986

DURANGO, Colo. (AP) _ Rescuers with drills on Friday freed a teen-ager wedged in an 18-inch mine shaft overnight and a man who became stuck while trying to pull the youth to safety.

″It’s nice to see the sunlight,″ said Thad Scheer, 17, as he emerged at midmorning from the cave where he became trapped 12 hours earlier.

Scheer and Keith Dahl, 25, were treated for exposure and a lack of oxygen from the poor air inside the cavern, said Jane Brown of Mercy Hospital, where both were hospitalized in satisfactory condition.

Dahl suffered a broken neck when he passed out inside the cavern and fell, said Jane Brown of Mercy Hospital. He was under observation in the intensive care unit because of fluid in his lungs, she said.

The rescue ended a 12-hour ordeal in which more than 100 people from 16 agencies and 10 local contractors tried to rescue the pair, said Sgt. Dan Bender of the La Plata County Sheriff’s Department.

Scheer became wedged deep in the cave about 9:30 p.m. Thursday when, about 100 yards from the entrance, he slid 10 feet down the shaft.

His companions reported the accident a half hour later.

A mine rescue crew from Silverton arrived at the site about 2 a.m. Friday, and about an hour later one of the rescuer workers slid head-first into the shaft, Bender said.

Initially Scheer was unconscious and the other man slipped in and out of consciousness, but oxygen fed through tubes revived both, Bender said.

About 7:30 a.m., rescuers using mining drills freed the two, although they were not brought back to the surface for another two hours.

Workers were ″crawling on their bellies and pulling the stretchers″ to get to the surface, Bender said.

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