Woman Dies After Falling 48 Feet Through Floor Into Hidden Well Shaft

View from a well

Photo: thirteenfour / iStock / Getty Images

An 83-year-old woman died in a tragic accident while helping her daughter pack up and move out of an old, dilapidated house in Salem, South Carolina.

Oconee County Coroner Karl Addis said that Dorothy Louise Downey was walking through the kitchen of the home, which was built in 1920, when she stepped on some rotting floorboards and fell through the floor.

Downey's daughter searched a crawlspace under the home but could not find her mother. She then called 911.

Firefighters responded and discovered that her mother had fallen roughly 50 feet down a well shaft that was under the house. It took the firefighters about four hours to reach Downey and pull her back up, but she had died from her injuries.

Addis said that Downey died in the fall and determined her death was an accident.

Downey's family said neither they nor the owner of the home knew there was a well shaft built underneath the house.

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