SCOTTS MILL, Ore. (KOIN) — Peter Kelly was out in his backyard Thursday when a neighbor came by and asked to use a phone to call 911. Before he knew it he had repelled down into a well to help the woman who fell in.
An older woman fell at least 50 feet down into a stone-lined well near Scotts Mills and was rescued by the neighbors and crews from 3 separate fire departments.
The call for help to the Silverton Fire District came Thursday afternoon after the woman fell through the wood top of the well.
“We were waiting for them to come up, and after about 5-10 minutes she didn’t seem to be faring too well,” Kelly told KOIN 6 News. “Another neighbor had a harness, so we grabbed that and my daughter ran to the barn and grabbed some rope, tied it on, had some other neighbors said they would belay me. My girls and a couple of local guys held onto the rope and lowered me down so I could stay with her afloat until rescue got here.”
When fire crews arrived at the scene in the 3000 block of Crooked Finger Road, Kelly was in the well and kept the woman from being submerged in the well water.
“My understanding is when I got there she had been in there for 45 minutes at that point,” he said. “I went down maybe 10 minutes later and I was down there for about an hour-and-a-half with her. She was down there well over 2.5 hours until Salem Rope Rescue team showed up.”
A team member was lowered into the well. The woman was stabilized, then hoisted to the top, where she was rushed to a hospital by ambulance.
“The rescue guy came down and we got some sort of harness around her and he brought her up and then I came up afterwards,” Kelly said.
She is reportedly in serious condition but her family told KOIN 6 News she will recover.
“Somebody had to do it,” Kelly said. “I’m glad we had people up here willing to hold onto the rope and I wholehearted trust them. This community is fantastic.”
“The amount of teamwork for our volunteer Battalion Chief with Salem Fire with the people on scene trying to help made this a complete success,” said Assistant Chief Ed Grambusch, Silverton Fire.
The Mt. Angel Fire District also provided help as did the Marion County Sheriff’s Office and Woodburn Ambulance.