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Five people rescued after broken lift trapped them 200ft underground for 30 hours

Five people rescued after broken lift trapped them 200ft underground for 30 hours

The lift in the Grand Canyon Caverns filled with smoke and the group eventually had to be rescued with rope

Five people had to be rescued after a broken lift left them trapped 200ft underground for 30 hours.

The group were visiting the Grand Canyon Caverns in Arizona, USA, over the weekend when a lift stopped working before filling with smoke, leaving them 21 stories below ground.

They were unable to escape via the emergency staircase, so it was determined that they could stay in the hotel suite at the bottom of the cavern until the lift was repaired.

However, the attempt to fix the lift was unsuccessful and a rescue operation was launched.

Watch here:

Coconino County Sheriff's Office said: "Ten members of the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Unit-Mountain Rescue Team, along with four members of the Flagstaff Fire Department Technical Rescue Team responded to Grand Canyon Caverns to conduct the rescue.

"Upon arriving on scene at approximately 2:00pm the situation was assessed and a technical rope rescue system was constructed in the elevator shaft.

"Rescuers made access to the location of the stranded party via the emergency stairs and prepared them for the technical rope raising operation by securing them in a rescue harness and connecting the haul and belay ropes to the harness.

"The members of the stranded party were raised up the elevator shaft via the technical rope rescue mechanical advantage system one at a time. Each raising operation took approximately 15 minutes to complete."

Once they were all at last above ground, at around 6:00pm on Monday (24 October), they were evaluated and found to be unharmed by the ordeal.

Michael Jimenez had been visiting with his family when they became trapped in the cavern, and he said it was a very stressful situation.

They had to be rescued with rope.
Coconino County Sheriff's Office

Recalling what went down, he told FOX 26: "We got in the elevator, like me and my whole family, and the guy started pressing the button.

"Nothing happened, nothing happened. So we all got out … the whole thing just started filling with smoke. Everybody backed out of there."

He and his dad were able to use the emergency exit, but the rest weren't, so they returned with supplies.

"With all the supplies, like formula, diapers, everything, and we went down. We asked them like, 'Did you guys even attempt to call anybody to help us? Because there’s no service trucks, nothing going on," he said.

Then it became a waiting game for the family.

"I'm telling you that was stressful. I was sad," he said.

"They pulled my grandpa, my mom, and my grandma out by hoist."

Still, as far as getting stuck in a cavern below ground for 30 hours goes, it seems Michael and co had about as pain-free an experience as you can have.

Featured Image Credit: Coconino County Sheriff’s Office

Topics: US News