Rescuers: Man jumps into Meteor Crater mine shaft to 'appease the gods'

Meteor Crater mine shaft

Credit: Coconino County Sheriff's Office

A man was rescued after jumping into a mine shaft at the bottom of Meteor Crater and falling more than 100 feet.


by Jennifer Thomas

Posted on January 11, 2013 at 3:29 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 15 at 11:04 AM

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FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- More than 30 rescuers had to battle freezing temperatures, high winds and rough terrain to save an injured man who jumped into a mine shaft in the bottom of Meteor Crater on Thursday.

Coconino County Sheriff's Office spokesman Gerry Blair said Parminder Singh, 28, told deputies that he intentionally jumped into the mine shaft in an attempt to "appease the gods."

At about 4 p.m., an employee of the Meteor Crater park called the sheriff's offfice to report a trespasser at the bottom of the crater, which is closed to public access. The employee watched through binoculars and saw the man jump feet first into the vertical mine shaft.

Officials said Singh, of Union City, Calif., fell a distance of more than 100 feet to the bottom of the shaft after he jumped.

The Coconino County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Unit and a Guardian Medical Transport Helicopter were among the responders. Blair said it took rescuers more than eight hours to rescue Singh.

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. Rescuers were forced to cut their way through a 7-foot fence topped with barbed wire to get to the opening of the shaft.

At approximately 8:20 p.m., rescuers lowered supplies including food, water, a portable radio, warm clothing and a flashlight to the man.

Via the radio, Singh informed the rescuers that he believed he had dislocated and broken his right arm, had a broken leg, and complained of severe pain to both of his legs. He also reported frequent episodes of loss of consciousness.

Blair said flying the victim out of the crater was not a safe option due to the high winds and low temperatures so a member of the Flagstaff Fire Department Technical Rescue Team was lowered 100 feet to Singh's location.

It took an hour to medically assess the victim, provide initial treatment, and prepare him to be lifted to safety. Singh, 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 center.

He was transported to the Flagstaff Medical Center where he is listed in stable condition. 

Multi-agency resources and responders included a Guardian Air Medical Helicopter and crew, several Coconino County sheriff's deputies, 12 members of the Coconino County Sheriff's Search and Rescue Technical Team, four members of the Flagstaff Fire Department Technical Rescue Team Members, two Maricopa County sheriff's deputies, and eight members of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Certified Technical Mine Rescue Team. 

Meteor Crater is located 35 miles east of Flagstaff.