Trapped In A Mine Shaft For 48 Hours, Waddell Tells How He Survived

By Banner Health

Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix held a press conference at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 28 for Arizona miner John Waddell who shared his incredible story of being trapped in a mine shaft for more than 48 hours.

Waddell, a miner for more than 15 years, was left to fight for his life after falling to the bottom of a 100-foot hole. He elaborated more about his battle with three rattlesnakes while trapped in the shaft. Waddell says he killed two of the snakes with the same stick he’d been using as a splint to keep his broken leg in proper position to help manage pain.

Waddell suffered severe injuries and was treated for dehydration. He had surgery for his broken left leg on Thursday, Oct. 18, and again on Friday, Oct. 26, for a broken left ankle. Waddell will have regular physical therapy sessions to help with his recovery process. 

Cliff Jones, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix, was one of Waddell’s primary surgeons who performed both his leg and ankle surgeries.

“He really is lucky to be alive and to not have suffered from any other worse injuries,” said Dr. Jones.

Please note: This was the only opportunity to interview John Waddell and his family. Per the family’s request, follow-up questions and interviews are not available after the press conference. 

About Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix

Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix is a large teaching hospital that has provided medical care to Arizona and the Southwest since 1911. It is part of Banner – University Medicine, a premier academic medical network. The hospital, recognized by U.S. News and World Report as one of the nation’s best hospitals, specializes in heart care, cancer care, high-risk obstetrics, neurosciences and stroke care, organ transplants and Emergency care, including a Level 1 trauma center. Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix is part of Banner Health, a nonprofit healthcare system with 28 hospitals in six states. The institution, which has trained thousands of doctors over decades as a teaching hospital, is the academic medical center for the University of Arizona College of Medicine