SAGLE — A man is lucky to be alive after falling into an abandoned water well Sunday.
Emergency crews responded to the 10000 block of Lakeshore Drive in Sagle to find the man treading water in the deep well. The surface of the water was about 12 feet below ground level, but the depth of the water is unknown, said Selkirk Fire, Rescue and EMS Battalion Chief Jason Cordle.
Cordle said the well was covered with wood that rotted over time, so it gave way quickly under the man's weight and he was swallowed by the gaping hole in the ground. Luckily, the victim was with a friend as he crossed the undeveloped piece of private land with to pick cherries from a nearby tree.
"He was walking about 6 feet from his buddy and just disappeared," Cordle said.
The Bonner County Sheriff's Office and Bonner County EMS responded to the call along with the Selkirk crew. Deputies were the first on scent, Cordle said, and dropped a rope down for the man to hold onto. He was starting to become hypothermic due to the temperature of the groundwater. Selkirk Station 3 in Sagle responded and sent down a life ring to keep him from becoming more fatigued as a ladder was lowered into the hole.
"He was able to climb out on his own with help from the rescuers who were pulling on the rope," Cordle said.
The victim's core temperature was in the mid-90s, Cordle said. Along with the onset of hypothermia, he also suffered from abrasions and lacerations to his arms and thoracic area. He was taken to Bonner General Health and treated for his injuries.
"He is lucky someone was with him, because if not, he probably would have drowned," Cordle said. "People need to use caution if they are crossing private property to access other land — you never know what you are going to step into."
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