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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary

Woman Recovering After Rescue From 20-Foot Well

October 21, 2000

PERRIS — An elderly woman was recovering Friday after a nighttime rescue from a 20-foot fall into an abandoned well.

Rachel Chandler, 73, tumbled into the brick-lined structure in her daughter's backyard about 2 p.m. Thursday, said Capt. Andrew Bennett of the Riverside County Fire Department. She was rescued about seven hours later.

Chandler was conscious, cold, tired and thirsty, but did not suffer serious injuries, Bennett said. She was taken to Riverside County Regional Medical Center for treatment, and a nursing supervisor Friday morning said she was in fair condition.

"Nobody knew the well was there. There was six inches of dirt covering it," Bennett said.

Rescuers lowered firefighter Mark Defina into the well, about 8 feet in diameter, to retrieve Chandler with a harness attached to ropes.

After the rescue, firefighters blocked the opening temporarily with plywood, dirt and yellow crime-scene tape. City officials would be called to take care of the hole permanently, Bennett said.

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