A woman who survived nearly three days trapped inside a septic tank was rescued on Tuesday in Estacada, Oregon, reports said.
Fire chief Richard Anderson told reporters that the woman, who did not want to be identified, fell into the tank while doing maintenance work outside her home.
“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,” Anderson commented.
Reports said that when first responders arrived at the scene, they found the woman lying in sewage almost three feet underground.
“We could see her in the tank. We could communicate with her,” Anderson recalled. “We just really needed to get some resources there.”
A hole dug in the ground exposed the tank, which had a “2-foot by 2-foot hole through its rusted metal top.”
“It can be definitely [be] a scary situation, especially sitting at the bottom of a septic tank and you don’t know that anybody’s coming to get you,” said paramedic Nick Wettlaufer.
Firefighters used a pole and a strap to lift the woman to safety in less than half an hour. Reports said she did not appear to have sustained any injuries, but she was taken to a local hospital to rule out any infections and limited oxygen.
On Wednesday, the Estacada Rural Fire District No. 69 wrote about the rescue on their Facebook page.
The post read:
Yesterday our crews responded to a confined space rescue call where an individual fell into a septic tank they were working on and had been in multiple days. Our crews were assisted by the Technical Rescue Team along with Engine 318 from Clackamas Fire. Once extricated the patient was transported to the hospital by Lifeflight.
Reports said septic tanks are commonly found in and around Estacada, but incidents such as this are quite rare.
“In my entire career, I can’t imagine another time this has happened,” Anderson said.
A neighbor told Fox 12 that the family told him the woman is expected to make a full recovery and will return home this week.