Firefighters in Chelsea rescued a 70-year-old Farm Point man who had fallen into a hole and was pinned underneath rocks and dirt for hours on Aug. 29 before passersby heard his cries for help.
According to Chelsea Fire Chief Charles Éthier the call came in at 6:03 p.m., but the man, whose name has not been released, had been stuck for over two hours and couldn’t free himself from a covered hole that may have given way. Fortunately, a pair of joggers cruised past, heard his cries and alerted neighbours to call 9-1-1. The hole is about three feet deep but leads to a steeper ravine descending into the bush, explained Éthier.
The fire chief couldn’t confirm exactly what led to the man getting pinned underground.
“Lots of possibilities — he tripped, he lost his footing, he fainted before falling, the ground collapsed under his feet…. We don’t know,” wrote Éthier in an email. “[The hole] was steep, approximately three feet deep, with rocks, branches and an awkward place and situation to be in for someone his age.”
Police have not released the name of the man.
According to witnesses who were at the scene, the man was trapped but didn’t appear to be injured and was calm and collected while he waited for help. Farm Point neighbour Rolland Lebel, who lives directly across the street on Chemin Saint-Clément, said he sat with the man until emergency crews arrived, keeping him calm.
“I was talking to him, and he said he could breathe and he had no injuries, but it’s a hell of a fall,” Lebel said. He added that the man was trapped between rocks that had slid into the hole, and he couldn’t move.
When firefighters arrived, the situation was certainly tense, but emergency crews remained calm and collected while assessing the situation. “After verification of his condition by the paramedics, paramedics, firefighters and police helped him up and out as he walked out on his two feet.” The man was placed on a stretcher and taken to hospital for precautionary reasons.
Éthier urges homeowners to be wary of steep ditches and soft ground, and to be mindful when operating brush cutters or weed whackers. He suggests that residents protect themselves with safety equipment.