Work was being carried out with a bore-hole rig when the machine fell through into the mine.
The rig operators managed to escape uninjured.
The collapse has left a massive hole close to people homes.
Police have confirmed that no one has been injured and are asking motorists to avoid the area.
It’s believed shaft was a disused iron ore mine.
Specialist engineers and contractors are continuing their investigation into the cause of the collapse at the mineshaft in Howbank Road, Egremont and at this stage are not in a position to advise when residents will be able to return to their properties.
Copeland Council are communicating directly with everyone involved on a regular basis and affected residents are being offered help and support throughout this difficult period including accommodation and welfare issues.
The site has been fenced off for safety reasons and it is vital that people stay away from the area until it is made safe.
We expect work will begin tomorrow and over the weekend to create a road into the back of the site. This will allow access for plant vehicles to start work to stabilise the hole.
Paul Walker, chief executive of Copeland Council said: “We do need to emphasise that it is very dangerous for anyone to access the site at the current time until we have stabilised the mine shaft. Our advice is to stay well away. We will be working swiftly with our advisers and contractors to deal with the incident both now and in the longer term. Our priority is to make sure the residents that have had to leave their properties are well looked after and that we secure the site so that we can allow them to return home. We will not know exactly how long this will take until we have received more detailed findings from the investigations that are currently taking place.”
A spokesman for Copeland Council said: “We have been working intensively for some months to monitor movement related to an historic mineshaft in Egremont and yesterday we began work to fill and cap the shaft.
“We have been working closely with local residents for several months whilst planning the works and they have been fully informed at each step in the process.
“During the works yesterday there was a slump in the land around the top of the shaft. Thankfully nobody was injured but some equipment fell into the hole. We ceased work and closed off the area for safety reasons.
“Eight households have been evacuated as a precaution whilst the immediate investigation continues.
“We are providing support to the households in question on an individual basis and to local residents in general– we had a residents meeting last night to allay concerns and share information and will meet again shortly.
“We are working with specialist engineers to investigate the cause of the collapse and determine the next steps. We will provide an update at regular intervals.”
Anyone with any concerns should ring 0845 054 8600.