Mineshaft rescue for man and his pup

Griff following the rescue operation. Picture: Monbulk CFA

A man and his 11-week-old puppy were lucky to escape serious injury after falling into an abandoned mineshaft in Launching Place on Sunday 7 June.

While out on a walk in the bush, rottweiler pup, Griff, fell down a ten metre deep mineshaft. Griff’s owner Adam Killeen went after him in an attempt to rescue the dog, but fell and became trapped.

Upper Yarra SES were one of the first to arrive at Launching Place, where Mr Killeen’s family members highlighted the mineshaft location and watched on as SES and CFA teams arrived to begin a rescue operation.

Upper Yarra SES deputy controller Cameron MacDonald told Star Mail about the risks associated with these types of incidents.

“The big concern about this sort of incident is you can get a build up of organic matter in these shafts and as it rots, they release a gas which can displace the oxygen making it harder to breathe.

Mr MacDonald said that communicating with Mr Killeen and learning that he wasn’t experiencing any difficulty breathing was a welcome sign.

“Standing in cold water was a concern, but with the time of the response for technicians to get there to assist, it wasn’t going to get any worse.”

Using two trees, several emergency services teams were able to perform a high angle rope rescue. And after two hours, Mr Killeen and Griff were rescued safely.

Monbulk CFA, Wandin CFA, Dandenong CFA, Hallam CFA, Hoddles Creek CFA, Little Yarra CFA and Upper Yarra SES were among the teams who responded to the incident.

Ambulance Victoria told Star Mail that Mr Killeen suffered from hypothermia and was transported to Maroondah Hospital in a stable condition for further assessment.

Mr MacDonald said that the presence of mineshafts is an issue in the area.

“We’re lucky we don’t get more (of these incidents) out here. There’s mineshafts that spread from Launching Place and Hoddles Creek all the way out to the dam. Fortunately it doesn’t happen that often but it’s just a reminder that it’s another one of the local risks that we have.

“The amount of shafts around here is just unbelievable … Where we were standing, there were another half a dozen shafts around us.