John A. Wade, 33, clergyman, rescued Simon W. Dismukes, 72, farmer, from a cave-in in a well, Kilmichael, Mississippi, February 2, 1948. While Dismukes, who had only one arm, was working near an abandoned well 47 feet deep and lined with timbers, a mass of earth from the side of the well slid into it, carrying Dismukes to a sitting position on mud and debris seven feet deep on the bottom. A chunk of concrete weighing 125 pounds broke from a slab supporting a wooden curb bordering the top of the well, fell behind Dismukes, and rested slanting over him. The cave-in widened the walls for 10 feet below the surface and left a hole 10 feet Wide where the slide had started. The intact portion of the slab, which was six and a half feet in diameter and four inches thick, remained precariously in place. The well filled for 20 feet above the chunk of concrete with loosely packed earth and timber debris that did not shut off Dismukes’ surply of air. Fifty persons gathered at the well, but none would enter to give aid. Wade arrived an hour after the accident. Although he never had been in a well and was warned that he might be killed by falling concrete or be suffocated, Wade, astride a narrow board suspended on a rope, was lowered 20 feet to the loose debris, the rope being fed over the edge of a timber placed across the caved-in area. The debris shifted with a loud noise, as Wade pulled at a piece of detached planking. Suspended almost horizontally to keep his weight off the debris, he repeatedly loaded debris into a bucket, which was raised to the surface and emptied. After working for nearly two hours, he had cleared the debris to the level of Dismukes. Little debris fell while Wade worked. Wade tied a rope and his belt securely around the chunk of concrete and had it removed. After clearing away debris around Dismukes, Wade seated him on a board dangling from a rope and tied him securely. Both men then were drawn out of the well. Dismukes suffered shock and exposure and Wade an extreme nervous reaction, but they recovered. Two days after the act the concrete slab and curb fell into the well.
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