James E. Jennings, 38, drilling contractor, assisted in an attempt to rescue Bobby W. Lampley, 26, well driller, from a cave-in, Mayfield, Kentucky, December 5, 1958. Lampley descended into a well excavation generally 33 inches in diameter and 70 feet deep to align the sides and was buried when a slide occurred near the top of a stratum of sand 50 feet beneath the surface. Above the sand stratum was one of clay, sand, and gravel, and above that another of firm clay. Following a telephone call from the drilling rig operator, who was the only other person at the well, Jennings and another man arrived. By means of the rig’s winch cable, Jennings, who had an artificial leg, was lowered into the well to the top of the fallen sand 58 feet below the surface. He found that the cave-in had left a chamber 10 feet in diameter and eight feet high, creating the threat of further slides. Jennings dug with his hands for a short time but, realizing that such efforts were too slow, returned to the surface and left with the other man to obtain steel casings to make a direct excavation to Lampley. B. Franklin Jones, a radio engineer who had arrived with others and had volunteered to enter the well, was lowered to the top of the sand. He began digging but found a regular shovel too large for efficient use. As Jones returned to the surface to get a smaller shovel, Jennings and the other man came back with four steel casings of various diameters. Jones was lowered back into the well with a small trench shovel and the largest casing, which was 30 inches in diameter. He dug sand from inside the casing until it had settled three feet. After a smaller section was put into place, Jones started digging again but began to feel dizzy and was raised from the well. William H. Baldwin, a rigger-welder, volunteered to continue the digging and was lowered into the shaft. At 62-two feet below the surface Baldwin dug sand from inside the second casing and continued after the third section had been lowered and positioned. Baldwin also began to experience dizziness and was removed from the well. James W. Brame, a carpenter, then volunteered his services and was lowered into the shaft. Digging inside the third casing, he soon uncovered Lampley’s hand 65 feet below the surface. After he had uncovered Lampley’s arm and head, Brame returned to the surface, and Jones again entered the well. He experienced difficulty in digging because the sand kept filtering back. Brame then was lowered back into the well to the top of the casings, from where he took each shovelful of sand handed him by Jones and dumped it over the side. Later Jones tied Lampley to the end of the winch cable with a rope. The rig operator then operated the winch, pulling Lampley from the sand and raising him, Jones, and Brame from the well simultaneously. Lampley, who had been buried nearly five hours, could not he revived.
44610 – 425444610-4254