Riding ATVs through the desert is a common pastime, one that many people who live in dry climates are familiar with on a personal level. But wide-open spaces can harbor nearly invisible dangers, and the desert can be a very unforgiving place.
On May 22 at 6 p.m., one young man was riding his ATV near New River, Arizona, when the ground seemed to fall out from beneath him. He and his ATV were swallowed up by a poorly marked mine shaft, dropping 50 feet into the earth.
“Crews from Daisy Mountain, Phoenix Fire Department, Peoria Fire-Medical Department, and Glendale Fire Department are on scene of a mine shaft rescue, near the Andy Kunasek Trail in New River,” the Daisy Mountain Fire & Medical page shared on May 22. “Please avoid the area.”
“MCSO deputies are assisting several Fire Department Teams after a 17 year old boy has fallen into some type of shaft in the area of Desert Hills and New River Road,” Sgt. Enriquez with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office tweeted.
“The boy was riding a quad and fell in the shaft. Fire personnel is working to get the boy out.”
MCSO deputies are assisting several Fire Department Teams after a 17 year old boy has fallen into some type of shaft in the area of Desert Hills and New River Road. The boy was riding a quad and fell in the shaft. Fire personnel is working to get the boy out. pic.twitter.com/Z8w2NcvG7x
— @SgtJEnriquez (@SgtJEnriquez) May 23, 2020
“This was proceeded by a difficult rescue mission due to the very steep drop and the unknown toxic gases that could have been present,” he wrote. “This was conducted by 36 different units and over 100 individual respondents.
“After successfully getting the ATV flipped over, which was pinning him at the bottom of the plummet, the rescue team got him airlifted to a Level One Trauma Center. Since then, Jorden has been battling through several critical injuries in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit).”
According to comments on Daisy Mountain Fire & Medical’s post, the mine shaft was difficult to spot and has concerned locals for some time.
“I know EXACTLY what mine shaft that is,” one person wrote. “Everytime I’ve ridden by there I always wondered how no one has fallen in it. Hope the boy is ok.”
“Thank God for these responders,” wrote another. “When I heard of this I immediately thought of the Andy Kunasek trail. I’ve been on there many times and that shaft is hidden. Beyond unsafe. They worked a miracle getting this young man out.”
Thankfully Schoen has been in good hands, and the GoFundMe campaign started in his name has received over $15,000 in donations so far. His mother, Sharyn Lichtenstein Schoen, shared a video of an interview with the Phoenix Fire Department and publicly thanked the first responders for their efforts.
“The Phoenix fire dept’s technical rescue team held a news conference to talk about Jorden’s rescue,” she wrote. “I am forever grateful for these AMAZING HEROES who rescued Jorden 💙🙏🏻💙 what an incredible team!!! Over 30 units responded from various fire departments and over 120 first responders.”
“If you go out riding, please always wear a helmet! It could save you too.”
“Listen closely, a special friend pointed out to me, it took 27 minutes from the time the rescuer entered the mine shaft to bring Jorden to the top of the mine shaft … most of you know that’s Jorden’s number.”
The family has expressed their gratitude for everyone who has supported them through these unexpected circumstances.
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