“Stay Out Stay Alive”, we have all heard and seen the warnings when we discussing abandoned mines. Many people have the idea in their heads that abandoned mines are plain and simply death traps and upon entering one we are sure to meet our demise.
Let it be said that mines are undoubtedly dangerous, and yes, people can and have died while exploring them, particularly if they have zero experience and knowledge about abandoned mine exploration and enter one without the adequate safety equipment.
Here, we will be delving into the world of mine exploration and will be uncovering the top ways that you can actually die in an abandoned mine if you have no clue what you are doing and lack the proper equipment to keep you alive.
1. Head Injuries
One of the top injuries that can occur while exploring an abandoned mine is to smack your head on a number of various points along the way. This is why seasoned mine explorers bring along a helmet to prevent head injuries! There are a ton of low hanging ceilings along the main and off beaten areas of the mines, and if you are not careful you are sure to nail your head on one of them.
Head injuries can lead to death depending on how hard you hit your head. Not to mention the fact that you can knock yourself out and become disoriented leading to you becoming lost in the mine, which is the very last thing you want to happen!
2. Falling Down a Mine Shaft
Falls are easily one of the main injuries that can go down while you are exploring an abandoned mine. And depending on just how far you fall, this can easily be a leading cause of death in a mine as well.
Abandoned mines also tend to have false floors that can collapse under just little weight super easily. Be sure that you are fully aware of what exactly it is that you are walking on prior to ever crossing any timbered or boarded section. It is also essential to get your hands on maps of any and all mine working’s prior to entering the mine, as this will allow you the ability to know exactly what you should come to expect and plan for when entering.
You might encounter a shaft that isn’t even covered that goes down several hundred feet. This is all to common. Always make sure you have good lighting when entering a mine.
3. Collapses and Cave-ins
Getting caught underneath areas that are at a high risk for a cave-in are super dangerous and can risk your life. You need to be super careful when you climb up or around various areas of collected debris.
A good tip is to check out exactly how much dirt and dust has collected on areas of rock piles. If you note that there is a lot of dirt and dust that has collected on the collapsed section, it more than likely occurred long ago. However, if you go on to note that there is little or no dust on or around the collapse then you need to exercise extreme caution and be incredibly careful as chances really good that the collapse happened not long ago and more rock could be falling very soon.
4. Animal Dangers
There are a ton of different animals and reptiles that inhabit abandoned mines. Poisonous snakes, spiders, rats, bats, etc are all animals that you may come in contact with in a mine, and the looming threat of getting bit or attacked by such animals is pretty high.
If you get bit by a rattlesnake deep in an abandoned mine, your chances of survival are low. Be sure to always pack necessary preparations and take extra care to avoid animals and be on the look out for them at all times.
5. Bad Air
Many people have gone on to enter mines only to come in direct contact with toxic gasses that have led to death. You need to additionally keep in mind that if bats are present in the mine, there will be a lot of bat guano and high levels of exposure to bat guano can be incredibly harmful to the lungs.
If the mine smells like rotten eggs, you need to get out of it immediately, as hydrogen sulfide is present and can prove lethal.
6. Wood Rot
Wood rot can lead to death due to the fact that you can fall or have objects fall on you. Miners would shore up the old shafts with wood that is now several hundred years old. You need to exercise extreme caution when you are moving under or around wooden structures.
If the mine is quite humid, the strength of the wood is going to be even more weak making it increasingly more prone to collapsing. However, you need to remember that even in more dry mines, wood can still rot over time, so regardless if you come in contact with wood be super careful and try and avoid it as best you can.
7. Collapsing Rock Walls
Rock wall collapses are high in likelihood and can easily lead to death if you are not incredibly careful. Rock walls can be found in pretty much any abandoned mine that you may find, while the many are pretty stable, be sure to steer as clear of them as possible as they are bound to be holding back a tremendous amount of rubble that can bury you in a heartbeat if you get caught up in one collapsing.
8. Getting Lost
Countless people have found themselves going about exploring a mine at random and then plain and simply getting lost in the process!
If you get too deep into a mine and can’t find your way out you can find yourself dying in the process without adequate supplies. This is precisely why before you venture off into an abandoned mine, you need to tell someone when and where you are heading and do not go alone! Always bring someone else with you in the event of an emergency. Experienced cavers don’t go it alone, they explore with a partner.
9. Panic Attacks
Many people have found themselves exploring a mine and then coming in contact with an area that makes them feel incredible uncomfortable, tight spaces, fear of lack of oxygen, etc are all some of the top things that can lead to a panic attack or even a heart attack. If you have a preexisting health condition, you need to exercise the utmost care and caution when entering into an abandoned mine. Exploration is not worth risking your life.
This is yet another reason why you should always have a partner with you when exploring mines and caves.
One of the neat things about old mines is that they sometimes have really cool old mining relics. One thing to be extra careful about though is finding dynamite!
Sometimes when a mine was shut down the miners would leave everything in place. A box of dynamite sticks could be down there, and after all these years they will be extra sensitive. Don’t even touch it and get out immediately!
Be Smart When Exploring Mines
Let’s face it, there are a ton of ways that you can die when exploring an abandoned mine.
If you are feeling adventurous and want to head out to explore a mine, I can’t stop you. Just be sure that you are packing all of things you needed to keep yourself safe and alive.
Some mines are relatively stable and you might not have any troubles. However, most mines are very old and haven’t been entered in over a century. If you simply just stumble upon one, do yourself a favor and stay out of it.