Arizona man, 62, falls into mine shaft, breaks bones and kills 3 rattlesnakes before being rescued days later

A 62-year-old man was rescued from the depths of an Arizona mine shaft Wednesday — two days after he plunged into the pit and began an ordeal during which he nursed his numerous injuries while simultaneously fending off a trio of rattlesnakes, officials said.

John Waddell was lifted out of the 100-foot-deep shaft Wednesday after his friend, Terry Schrader, heard Waddell hollering near Eagle Eye Road and milepost 13, located about 35 miles south of Aguila, Arizona, FOX10 Phoenix reported.

“He called me Monday and told me he was coming to the mine,” Schrader told FOX10. “We always had a deal: if he is not back by Tuesday, [come look for him] because he said he would be back Tuesday.”

Schrader added: “I didn’t come down Tuesday, I did today [Wednesday]…I was afraid of what I was going to find.”

Schrader said he drove to the mine shaft area and soon heard the sound of his friend screaming.

“As I pulled out my truck I could hear him hollering, ‘Help, help!’” Schrader said. “I did get enough [cellphone service] that the deputies were on their way.”

When Waddell plummeted into the shaft Monday, he broke both his legs. Worse, as he lay helpless, he suddenly discovered several rattlesnakes were slithering around him. Waddell said he managed to kill three of the serpents during the trying two days underground, all the while hoping someone would eventually hear his cries for help.

It took rescuers nearly six hours to pull Waddell out of the shaft to safety and then to airlift him to a hospital. Although Waddell was severely dehydrated and had broken his legs, his injuries were not life-threatening, FOX10 reported.