The death of a 28-year-old man in an abandoned Nevada mine underscores the dangers of exploring abandoned mine workings, according to the Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining.
DOGM reports that there are more than 17,000 abandoned mines in Utah, and many pose hazards.
"Most are more than 50 years old and some are older than 100 years," said Luci Malin, administrator of DOGM's Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program. That means rotten timbers are unstable, supports may give way and walls and roofs can collapse.
Other hazards include lack of oxygen, poisonous gases, falling debris, water-filled shafts, potential falls into deep shafts, and startled animals that may live inside.
Absolute darkness makes these dangers even more hazardous, she concluded.