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This Emergency Squad Is Plunging Into Mine Shafts To Rescue People Trapped Inside.

Imagine you’re on a treasure hunt – an opal hunt, to be precise – down a mine in opal-rich Coober Pedy, Australia. Your heart is pounding with excitement, and you can picture the beautiful stone gleaming softly in the moonlight. In your excitement, however, you get a bit careless moving through the mine. Suddenly, your foot catches on a protruding rock, and you stumble… straight down a 100-foot mine shaft.

That would typically spell disaster, but thanks to the State Emergency Service squad, countless adventurers have made it home safe and sound!

SES member Andy Sheils has been venturing down into Coober Pedy’s mines for the past 40 years. Apparently, mining accidents were more frequent back then.

“Back in the 70s and 80s, it was very wild around here and nobody was very safety conscious back then, so we were losing quite a few miners,” Andy said. “We were probably doing a serious mine rescue job every month or so.”

The SES squad isn’t just limited to mine rescues, however. They also respond to road crashes in their area of South Australia, but they are the only team in the state that is qualified for mine rescues.

Mining might be safer today than it was in the 70s, but it is still dangerous.

According to unit manager Anthony Daelman-Whitaker, “Mining can be dangerous and using heavy machinery – especially using machinery underground – comes with all sorts of wonderful risks.” Those include fumes from generators that can cause miners to pass out.

Just before Christmas in 2021, the squad rescued a miner who had gotten trapped under a large chunk of rock debris.

“The best thing you can do in life is save somebody else’s life,” Andy said.

We wholeheartedly agree, and we’re so grateful for Andy, Anthony, and the rest of the SES squad for plucking people out of danger in their darkest moments.

Share this story to tell the world about their important work.

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