Emergency crews rescued Parminder Singh, 28, of Union City, Calif. from the floor of a vertical mine shaft in the bottom of Meteor Crater. The multi-agency response team involved more than 30 rescuers from three different agencies working for eight hours in temperatures of 20 degrees and below, with a wind chill factor of below zero.
Witnesses said Parminder jumped into a mine shaft on Dec. 10.
An employee of the Meteor Crater park called the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office to report a male subject who was trespassing at the bottom of the crater which is closed to public access. While the first Coconino County Sheriff’s Deputy drove to the crater, the employee who was positioned at the Visitor’s Center continued to watch the trespasser through binoculars. Upon the deputy’s arrival, the employee informed him that he had just witnessed the subject jump feet first into a mine shaft.
The deputy immediately requested additional resources to include the Coconino County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Unit and air support. Access to the mine shaft was difficult, requiring a one-mile hike with a 600-foot drop in elevation to reach the bottom of the crater. A Guardian Medical Transport Helicopter responded and conducted multiple flights as the crew dropped off rescue personnel.
As rescuers reached the opening of the shaft, they found it to be surrounded by a seven-foot fence topped with several strands of barbed wire. Rescuers were forced to cut their way through to the mine shaft. Personnel learned the suspect fell a vertical distance of more than 100 feet to the bottom of the shaft after he jumped. At about 8:22 p.m. rescuers called out to the victim and heard a muffled reply indicating the victim was still alive.
Due to the freezing temperatures and winds, rescuers were not able to understand what the victim was attempting to tell them. They lowered supplies including food, water, a portable radio, warm clothing and a flashlight to the victim.
Once he received the supplies, he was able to communicate with his rescuers via the radio. He informed them that he believed he had dislocated and broke his right arm, broke one of his legs, and complained of severe pain to both of his legs. He reported frequent episodes of loss of consciousness.
A member of the Flagstaff Fire Department Technical Rescue Team was lowered 100 feet to the victim’s location. It took an hour to medically assess the victim, provide initial treatment, and prepare the victim to be lifted to safety. The victim, who was suffering from severe hypothermia was then carried up the 600-foot incline and a distance of more than a mile to the parking lot of the visitor’s center. Due to the high winds and low temperatures, flying the victim out of the crater was not a safe option. During an interview with Deputies, Mr. Singh said he intentionally jumped into the shaft in an attempt to “Appease the Gods.” He was transported to the Flagstaff Medical Center where he is listed in stable condition.