Dog tumbles down mine shaft at PCMR |

Dog tumbles down mine shaft at PCMR

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

A dog tumbled down a historic mine shaft at Park City Mountain Resort during a hike with its owner Wednesday afternoon, surviving the fall before being rescued by firefighters.

The dog, a terrier named Foxy, was not injured. It fell approximately 20 feet into the shaft, the Park City Fire District said. According to the Fire District, the mine shaft is located at the top of the resort’s Silver Queen run.

Bob Zanetti, an assistant fire chief, said the authorities received a 911 call at about 1 p.m. reporting the fall. The Fire District did not release the name of the man, who lives in Park City.

"A little spooked, but it was fine," Zanetti said about the dog.

The dog was trapped for two hours. Zanetti said it took about an hour at the site before the dog was rescued.

According to a statement from the Fire District, Park City Mountain Resort workers took the firefighters to the site on snowmobiles. The mine shaft had wooden shoring on the four sides, a floor of solid dirt and a small door at the entrance. Zanetti said it appeared a cap that had acted as a plug for the mine shaft had been removed.

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Before attempting the rescue, the firefighters checked the air inside for dangerous gases.

Donning ropes and rappelling gear for safety, a firefighter descended down a ladder into the mine shaft. The firefighter got the dog and climbed out of the shaft.

"If we can help out individuals, that’s what we do," Zanetti said.

A PCMR spokesperson did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.

The terrain at PCMR is a popular place for hikers and mountain bikers outside of the ski season. There are numerous trails that ascend from Old Town and the Resort Center to the higher elevations at the resort. Trail maps for hikers and mountain bikers are available.

Park City was founded in the 19th century as a silver-mining camp, and there were mines dotting the mountains where PCMR at Deer Valley Resort now are situated. The ski industry took hold in the latter half of the 20th century. Tunnels and other relics from the silver-mining days, though, remain in place.

Zanetti said the Fire District typically rescues a dog from a mine tunnel once every few years.

"They’re curious creatures. They want to see what’s in there," he said.

The episode is the second in two months involving a historic mine site in the mountains. In March, a skier at Deer Valley Resort fell about six feet after a mine tunnel opened in ungroomed terrain off the Lady Morgan Express lift.

The skier caught himself as the snow around him sank into the tunnel. He said he could see the darkness of the mine shaft below him before a woman he was skiing with helped him get out.