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73-Year-Old Rescued From Well

October 20, 2000

PERRIS, Calif. (AP) _ A 73-year-old woman fell 20 feet down an abandoned well and spent seven hours there before firefighters were able to pull her out. One rescuer lauded her as ``a great gal.″

Rachel Chandler tumbled into the 8-foot-diameter brick-lined structure in her daughter’s back yard about 2 p.m. Thursday, said Capt. Andrew Bennett of the Riverside County Fire Department. She wasn’t spotted until 3 1/2 hours and it took firefighters another 3 1/2 hours to complete the rescue.

Chandler was in fair condition Friday morning at Riverside County Regional Medical Center.

``Nobody knew the well was there. There was 6 inches of dirt covering it,″ Bennett said.

After figuring out how to rig up some cable to get her out, rescuers lowered firefighter Mark Defina into the well to slip a harness around Chandler.

``It was pretty cramped down in there,″ Defina later told The Riverside Press-Enterprise while drinking a celebratory orange soda.

``She could talk to me. She didn’t have a lot of pain,″ Defina said. ``She’s probably one of the better patients I’ve had. She’s a great gal.″

``How are you, Rachel?″ firefighters called out as she was pulled up.

Chandler was cold, tired and thirsty, but did not suffer serious injuries, Bennett said.

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