James W. Routson, aged twenty-two, student, died at- tempting to save Cecil L. Callencier from suffocation, Pittsfield, Illinois, July 19, 1963. While working in a well four feet in diameter and 29 feet deep, Callender, 59, well digger, was overcome by carbon monoxide gas which had resulted from the operation of a gasoline pump inside the well. He fell from a ladder at the side of the well into water 17 feet deep. The shouting of Callender’s helper attracted a survey party working in the area. Routson ran to the helper, who told him a man was drowning in the well. Breathing heavily, Routson descended the ladder, entered the water, and lifted Callender’s head above the surface. He grasped the rope suspended from a windlass atop the well and attempted to tie it around Callender. Roger Gary Spangenberg reached the well after a short run and called to Routson, who said he needed help. Breathing hard, Spangenberg descended the ladder. Routson lost consciousness and slumped atop Callender with his face in the water. Although he was aware gas was present, Spangenberg took hold of Routson and started to ascend the ladder with him but also was overcome. He fell into the water atop Routson and Callender with one leg through the ladder and his face partly submerged. The engineer in charge of the survey party reached the well, followed by John Paul Leming. Both realized that gas was present. The engineer sent the helper to notify firemen. Leming said he was going to enter the well. The engineer tied the windlass rope around Leming’s chest and lowered the end of a second rope into the well. When Leming reached the water he hung suspended by the windlass rope and tried to loop the other rope around Spangenberg’s chest but could not do so. After the engineer had tied a slipknot in the rope and relowered it to him, Leming fastened it around Spangenberg’s wrist. Hearing Leming groan, the engineer cranked the windlass and drew him out of the well. Leming was badly dazed and too weak to stand. Another man arrived. While the engineer pulled upward on the ladder, over which Spangenberg’s leg still was hooked, the man drew on the second rope. Together they lifted Spangenberg and, with Leming guiding him through the opening, removed him from the well. Firemen arrived. The bodies of Callender and Routson were removed from the well. Spangenberg was revived and hospitalized. He recovered, as did Leming.
47529 – 490247529-4902