Colorado Teen in Critical Condition After Falling 30 Feet into Abandoned Missile Silo

A teenage boy is in critical condition after falling 30 feet down an abandoned missile silo near Deer Trail in Arapahoe County, Colorado on Sunday morning. The incident occurred around 3:30 a.m. near 82000 E. County Line Road 22, according to the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office. Rescue teams from various agencies are currently working to extract the injured teen from the silo.

Group of Teenagers Accessed Abandoned Missile Silo

The sheriff’s office reported that a group of teenagers gained access to the entrance of the silo when one of them fell down the underground complex. The victim landed on twisted metal, broken concrete, and stagnant water at the bottom of the silo, sustaining serious injuries.

The victim’s friends who were inside the tunnels with him were rescued, but the injured teen remains inside. Crews said it took them about two hours to locate the teen after the incident occurred.

The silo where the teen fell is one of six former Titan I missile complexes in Colorado, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The Titan I was a 98-foot-long, two-stage missile designed to carry nuclear warheads, and was decommissioned in 1965.

Rescue Teams Face Challenging Conditions

Rescue teams from South Metro Fire, Sable Altura Fire Rescue, and other agencies have entered the silo and made contact with the victim. The teen is in critical condition but is expected to survive.

Crews described this as one of the most difficult rescues they have worked on, as it involves a mix of collapsed structures, confined spaces, and vertical triangles. Sable Altura Fire Battalion Chief Rich Solomon said, “It’s … it is twisted metal, it is collapsed bores, it is concrete pieces everywhere. It’s confined space. There’s stagnant water. It’s just a mix of collapse and confined space and vertical triangle.”

A rescue helicopter is on standby as crews continue their efforts to extract the injured teen from the silo. The sheriff’s office said the rescue teams have entered the silo and have made contact with the victim.

Abandoned Missile Silo on Private Property

The property owner, whose father bought the property sometime after the silo was decommissioned, said he intends to press charges, as he has done in the past. He described owning the property as “a headache.”

The silo is fenced off with a gate that appears to have been damaged. Social media posts going back about 10 years show discussions about people venturing into the silo or trying unsuccessfully, describing different locations and sometimes posting photos from what appears to be the inside of that silo.

A photo posted by the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office shows what appears to be graffiti on the silo entrance. According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, some of the other silos contain a number of public health hazards such as petroleum, radiation, paint, and several other chemicals.

Rescue Efforts Continue

As of the latest reports, rescue efforts are still underway to extract the critically injured teen from the abandoned missile silo. The Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office and various fire and rescue agencies are working together to safely bring the victim out of the complex underground structure.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers removed the impacted soil in 2013, and no further action was needed, according to a 2013 report, CDPHE said. However, a 2009 site inspection of the silo near Deer Trail showed that polychlorinated biphenols in the lagoon wastes were still an issue at the time.