Robert H. Rutherford rescued Andrew E. Thomas from a cave-in, Girard, Illinois, July 18, 1931. Thomas, 54, and Rutherford’s father were standing upright at the foot of a ladder at the bottom of a well 20 feet deep when bricks and earth dropped from the sides, covering them except for the upstretched hands of Rutherford’s father. The top of the ladder was four feet below the top of the well. Rutherford, 19, student, descended to the top of the debris 13 feet below the top of the well, cautiously knelt, and removed bricks from around his father’s head and arms, piling some of them around himself. His father then helped to free himself and ascended the ladder. Although urged to ascend, Rutherford crept closer to Thomas and removed bricks from the upper part of his body. Thomas then pushed bricks from himself and with the aid of Rutherford started up the ladder, causing some bricks to fall. Rutherford followed Thomas. During the rescue, several slight falls of earth and bricks fell around and upon Rutherford, and almost immediately after he got out of the well, the top collapsed.
31441 – 263331441-2633