An old, abandoned mine was rediscovered in the Sierra foothills thanks to kids playing baseball, and Calaveras County officials are working to make sure the hazard is repaired.

San Andreas Community Park caretaker Robert Earl said kids told the ground felt like it was giving way underneath center field, so he took his shovel out to investigate.

“When I put the shovel down, I felt grass move behind me,” Earl said.

After some digging, Earl uncovered a hole six feet wide and four feet deep. He climbed in, suspecting a broken water pipe might be to blame, but hesitated at the thought it could be an abandoned mine shaft.

Earl’s next thought was simple: “I better get out of this hole.”

The developer for the area confirmed he had tried to block off a mine shaft in the area 30 years. The old gold mine could go down hundreds of feet, authorities said.

Abandoned mines are common in Calaveras County, but Earl said he is happy the potentially dangerous find was located before anyone was hurt.

“Lots of kids out here,” he said.

State and county officials plan to dig the shaft out in the shape of a cone and then pour in concrete to create a plug. Crews plan to begin work on the project Thursday.


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