Danbury, CT Well Cave In, Dec 1882



The Well-Digger at Great Plain is Dug Out But Life is Found to be Extent. Calling for a Knife that He Might End His Sufferings.

DANBURY, Dec. 12.---The main particulars of the accident to Edward and James English, who were buried by the caving in of a well at Great Plain, were telegraphed to the REGISTER Saturday evening. Further details of the horrible affair are as follows; The father and son has sunk the well twenty five feet, when on Friday afternoon last a mass of earth, with boards, timbers and stone, felt upon them covering them out of sight. An alarm was spread among the neighbors and help was quickly at the place. James Moore, Michael Downey and William Davis descended into the well by a ladder to ascertain the condition of the unfortunates, both of whom were completely hemmed in by dirt and timbers and unable to move. Their situation was critical. The space about them was scarcely more than two feet in diameter. It was impossible to reach the bottom of the well. The men were fastened in completely, and above them was a hanging mass of earth ready to fall and smother them at any moment. Above, around the mouth of the well, was a crowd of men fully realizing the peril of the father and son below. A small tin pail was attached to a cord and let down. There was no room for anything larger. James dug the earth with his bands, and as fast as he filled the pail by this cramped means it was drawn up. It was a terribly slow process, but there was no other way to work. Mr. English succeeded in getting his hands free also, and he passed earth to the son, who put it in the pail. In this way much of the earth was removed, but the father, held fast by the timber and stones resting on him, could not help him further. A rope was finally brought and a noose thrown under the boy's arms. Several men endeavored to draw him out, but without success. He renewed the work with his hands, digging until his nails wore down to the quick, and the skin came off in patches. At 2:30, Saturday morning, the rope was again brought into use, and the lad was drawn out. Beyond a few bruises and the injury to his hands, he was not hurt, but he was very weak. He had been penned in for eighteen hours.

The result of the release of the son did not facilitate that of the father, as was expected. The earth at his side was firm and did not yield. He was penned in, without the power of moving either body or legs. Efforts were now directed to removing the dirt about him, for which purpose a small fire shovel stone could be used. The earth was after a while removed from his shoulders, but the timber against his breast held him as in a vise. It could have been cut in two, but it was feared its displacement in that manner would prove fatal, as another caving in might follow. Finally a windlass was erected over the mouth of the well and an attempt was made to build a new curb. This work and what little could be done in removing loose earth took the whole of Saturday, Meantime the victim, twenty

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