A woman in Oregon spent three days trapped in a septic tank after reportedly falling in while carrying out maintenance work.
The woman, who did not want to be identified, was apparently stuck in the underground tank, which was below her front yard, for three days before her daughter found her.
Her daughter and family hadn’t heard from the woman in a few days, so decided to go round and check on her. Amazingly, they found her still alive in the tank, lying in sewage.
Richard Anderson, division chief of the Estacada Rural Fire District, told Fox 12, via New York Post:
She hadn’t been heard from by her family for a couple days, over the weekend, so the family decided to drive up and check on her and that’s when they found her down in the tank and called 911 to get us started to go up there.
As the first responders arrived, they reportedly found the woman about three feet underground, lying in sewage.
We could see her in the tank. We could communicate with her. We just really needed to get some resources there.
The fire service had to enlist a tactical rescue team to help get the lady out of the tank, which took them around half an hour, according to Anderson.
She was alert enough that she was able to grab onto the ‘D-handle’ of one of our tools and set herself up a little bit. And then, they were able to get a strap around her and they were able to lift her out of there with that.
Thankfully, the woman did not appear to be seriously injured, but was flown by helicopter to a local hospital to be checked by doctors, as potential infections could have occurred from the sewage, as well as repercussions from the limited oxygen in the tank.
According to the fire chief, the woman was doing some maintenance work when she fell in and became stuck.
There was a tractor on site, a hole had been dug to expose the tank, and it looked like she had fallen through the lid. But we’re a little bit unsure on how she actually ended up down into the tank.
While septic tanks like the one she fell in are common, incidents such as this are few and far between.
As Anderson said: ‘In my entire career, I can’t imagine another time this has happened.’
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.