Weldon V. Roberts, 46, poultry farm hand, rescued D. Yvonne Beasley, 17 months, from exposure in a well, Starr, South Carolina, July 29, 1957. In the early evening Yvonne fell into the 10-inch opening of a terra cotta pipe of an abandoned well and slid downward in it in an erect position until she came to rest on an inverted bucket atop dirt which filled the well below the bucket. Her head then was 33 feet below ground level. Summoned by Yvonne’s brother, the mother of Yvonne discovered her in the well and immediately sought help. A number of persons were attracted, firemen were called to the scene, and equipment was brought to excavate a companion shaft alongside the well. With illumination provided by floodlights, a drilling rig bored a shaft 40 feet deep and 33 inches in diameter. By then more than 1000 persons had been attracted to the scene. Roberts, an experienced well digger who had been helping to move the excavated earth, volunteered to enter the shaft to dig through to Yvonne, who had been in the well three and a half hours. By means of the windlass cable on the drilling rig, Roberts was lowered to the bottom of the shaft, which at 20 feet below the surface had exposed a portion of the slightly curved well casing. Small amounts of loose earth fell from the walls of the shaft above Roberts as he dug into the earth with a short-handled shovel. From two feet above the bottom of the shaft, Roberts tunneled horizontally a foot and a half into the earth and reached the well casing, which he uncovered for three feet upward. Leaning into the tunnel, Roberts tapped the pipe lightly with a hammer and carefully broke away fragments of the casing until he had created an opening three feet high. With his hands he dug the earth from within the pipe and reached the inverted bucket, which be pulled downward. Roberts grasped Yvonne as she dropped with the bucket and then lowered her through the opening into the shaft. Holding Yvonne with one hand, Roberts used the other to dig himself out of the excavated dirt piled about his feet and legs. The cable was lowered, and by it Roberts, holding Yvonne, was raised to the surface. Yvonne sustained bruises and abrasions from which she recovered. Roberts, who had been in the shaft 20 minutes, suffered no fll effects.
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