Woman rescued after 2 days stuck in Australia mine shaft

Rescuers work to free a woman trapped in an abandoned mine shaft in Lightning Ridge, Australia. PHOTO: AFP / NEW SOUTH WALES POLICE

SYDNEY (AFP) - A woman has been pulled alive from an abandoned Australian mine shaft where she was trapped in searing heat for two days until a drone found her, police said Monday (Dec 18).

The 26-year-old vanished from her home in Lightning Ridge on Friday after going for a walk, sparking a large-scale search and rescue operation.

She apparently tripped and fell down the 8m deep shaft, police said, surviving despite daytime temperatures of more than 40 deg C.

"The woman is lucky to be alive after police rescued her from a mine shaft in the state's north-west," New South Wales police said.

"She was brought to the surface with the assistance of an officer using a pulley and harness, and provided water." The woman, who was found on Sunday, was taken to hospital in a stable condition.

Lightning Ridge, some 770km north-west of Sydney, is a world-renowned black opal mining centre, attracting hundreds of fossickers looking to hit the jackpot.

Small-time miners have dug countless vertical shafts in the area, with some dating back decades.

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