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83-Year-Old Woman Falls To Her Death Down Well Shaft Hidden Under Floorboards

The Oconee County coroner identified the victim as Dorothy Louise Downey.
The Oconee County coroner identified the victim as Dorothy Louise Downey.

The Oconee County coroner identified the victim as Dorothy Louise Downey.

An 83-year-old woman died after falling down a well shaft that was hidden under the rotting floorboards of a century-old home in Salem, South Carolina.

The tragic incident happened Sunday at about 2 p.m., when the woman was helping her daughter move out of the house. She was walking through the kitchen when part of the floor collapsed and she fell through, Fox Carolina reports.

The woman’s daughter tried searching for her in the crawl space under the house, but could not find her, according to a police report. 

It took firefighters nearly four hours to recover the woman’s body from the 48-foot hole, Oconee County Coroner Karl Addis reportedly said in a statement. Addis identified the victim as Dorothy Louise Downey.

The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office says the family was aware that the floor was rotten, but that they didn’t know the well shaft existed, according to Fox Carolina. The house was built in 1920, property records show. 

Downey died from injuries sustained in the fall, according to Addis. Her death was ruled an accident.

HuffPost reached out to the county sheriff’s office for comment, but did not immediately receive a response.

An investigation into the incident is ongoing.

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