San Acacia man rescued after falling into mine shaft
A San Acacia man who fell down an abandoned mine shaft near Polvadera Mountain on Sunday, May 20, was rescued by local authorities.
According to a police report, Luciano Lesperance, 48, and his brother Charles were exploring a mine west of Lemitar when their source of light failed them. While attempting to feel their way out, Luciano took a wrong turn and fell down a shaft approximately 100 feet deep.
At around 2:30 p.m., Socorro County Sheriff’s Deputy Lee Armijo was dispatched to the abandoned cotton gin in Lemitar and made contact with 55-year-old Charles Lesperance of Socorro. Charles Lesperance informed Armijo that they would need a four wheel drive vehicle to get to the mine.
Chief Deputy Shorty Vaiza was contacted regarding the use of an appropriate off-road vehicle, but it was unavailable. Vaiza then contacted retired Deputy Sheriff Joseph Tafoya, who is familiar with the area, about possibly using his personal vehicle to assist with the rescue. Tafoya and Armijo, along with Deputy Casey Spurgin and Bureau of Land Management Ranger Marc Wheeler, arrived at the mine and located Luciano Lesperance about 50 feet down the shaft.
Luciano said he was OK, but thought that he might have a sprained ankle.
Midway volunteer firefighter Kyle Lucero then arrived on scene with a repelling rope and a rescue harness, and Luciano Lesperance secured himself within the harness. Armijo, Wheeler, Tafoya and Lucero helped pull Luciano to safety, but he was reportedly bleeding badly from his head and had lacerations all over his body. He was carried out of the mine and handed over to Socorro emergency medical personnel.
Luciano Lesperance was fortunate to escape the ordeal without severe injuries in light of a 2009 incident in which a Magdalena man died while exploring an area of the Iron Mask Mine. Vaiza pointed out that it’s dangerous for anyone to be exploring old mines because they’re fragile and a cave-in could occur at any time.
Both Luciano and Charles Lesperance were cited for misdemeanor criminal trespassing and released.