Woman falls to death through rotten floorboards into 48ft well under home

An 83-year-old woman died Sunday while helping her daughter move out of a 100-year-old house in Salem, South Carolina. Rotten floorboards gave way underfoot and she fell into a 48-ft well long hidden beneath them, reports WHNS's Alvieann Chandler.

According to Oconee County property records, the house was originally built in 1920. Deputies say the family knew the floor was rotten, but it's unknown if the family knew about the well shaft. The coroner ruled Downey's death as accidental. The Salem Fire Department and Oconee Emergency Services extricated the woman from the well at around 5:45 p.m.

Something similar happened in Massachussets recently, where a man out walking in the woods was unlucky enough to fall into a forgotten well shaft. "Avon police confirmed they had previously visually searched that well," after his body was found in it months after he went missing.

In my 100-year-old home there's a "drain" in the basement where if you drop a stone in it you don't hear the plop for a couple of seconds. I knocked around the edges of it to make sure the ancient rat slab was sound, then covered it with a 200 pound steel grate.