William I. Duncan died attempting to save Lawrence V. Hrncirik from suffocation, Elliott, Texas, August 24, 1962. After uncovering a well 30 feet deep, Hrncirik, 30, farmer, tied a rope around the top and by it suspended a ladder inside with its bottom extending into the water, which was 12 feet deep. Hrncirik slid down the rope to the ladder and began to clean the well, which varied from 30 inches in diameter at the top to four feet at the bottom. A deficiency of oxygen caused Hrncirik to lose consciousness. His body slid into the water, but the ladder held his head above the surface. His wife discovered Hrncirik more than an hour later and telephoned for help. Duncan, 43, farmer and merchant, and another farmer arrived with two ropes. Hrncirik’s wife told Duncan that she thought her husband had slipped and knocked himself unconscious. Astride a board tied to a rope, Duncan, who could not swim, was lowered into the well by the farmer and Hrncirik’s wife. He stepped onto the ladder, held to the rope with the board, and passed the second rope around Hrncirik. As he released his hold on the rope with the board and sought to tie the other rope around Hrncirik, Duncan lost consciousness. He fell from the ladder and landed face down in the water. Three other men arrived. One man was lowered into the well by a rope but experienced difficulty in breathing and was withdrawn. Firemen arrived and emptied three oxygen tanks in the well. A fireman wearing a mask was lowered, and he tied another rope around Duncan. While firemen tried in vain to revive Duncan, another man entered the well with a rope around him and carrying an open bottle of oxygen. The man tied a rope around Hrncirik, and each was drawn from the well. Hrncirik was revived and recovered. Duncan’s death was attributed to drowning.
46517 – 467646517-4676