Woman Dies After Falling Into Hidden 48-Foot Well Under House Floor

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A woman died Sunday after falling through rotting floorboards into an unknown hidden well shaft in a century-old house in Salem, South Carolina, WSPA reported.

The incident occurred as Dorothy Louise Downey, 83, was helping her daughter move and stepped onto a weakened floor structure in the residence, the Oconee County Coroner’s Office told WSPA.

The house, which property records show was built in 1920, concealed the 48-foot deep well, unbeknownst to the family. Downey was reportedly walking across the kitchen floor when it collapsed beneath her, the report stated.

Despite her daughter’s search in the crawlspace under the house, Downey was not immediately found. A rescue team was then called to the scene, according to CBS News. (RELATED: REPORT: Alabama City Worker Hops In Ditch To Fix Leak, Dies After Ground Caves In)

Rescue efforts took nearly four hours on Sunday, with firefighters eventually retrieving Downey’s body from the well. Oconee County Coroner Karl Addis confirmed that she succumbed to injuries sustained from the fall. He declared the death an accident and noted the uniqueness of the case in his 31-year tenure as coroner, the outlet noted.