Only on 12: Father and son trapped in open well

By: Lynnsey Gardner Email
By: Lynnsey Gardner Email

January 29, 2007

GIBSON, Ga.---A father and son are recovering after falling more than 30 feet down an open well.

It happened on Main Street in Gibson, Georgia around 2:30 this afternoon.

Seven-year-old Cameron Thompkins and his dad James got the scare of their lives earlier today...and immediately their small community jumped into action to save them.

On the surface looking down, you can tell it must have been a terrifying fall.

"We didn't even know there was an open well within the city limits," Glascock County Sheriff Dean Couch told News 12.

But there is...and seven-year-old Cameron Thompkins was at the bottom.

He was walking on one of the boards lying across the well when a rotted beam snapped into pieces, plunging him more than 30 feet down into the dark freezing water.

Another child ran to get help...and that's when his father James rushed outside and eased himself down the well to save his son.

"The kid and his father were in a terrible situation," said Deputy Jeremy Kelley.

Lucky for them, help was right next door.

The family's home sits directly across from the sheriff's office.

Immediately rescuers found a garden hose and improvised, lowering it down the well while the sheriff went to get a rope to pull them out.

"We was telling them everything was going to be okay, asking if they were hurt," Deputy Kelley said. "The boy was real, real scared and the daddy was doing most the talking."

17 minutes later, the boy was lifted out.

"I could've almost cried," Sheriff Couch said. "It was so self rewarding to see him come out unhurt, breathing and talking."

"He was soaked to the bone and covered in mud," said Ranger Brian Adams of the Department of Natural Resources. "He had mud all over his face and his nose and his eyes."

Neighbors wrapped Cameron in blankets while rescuers worked to save his dad.

"It feels so good to be able to get this child and his dad out and know they are okay and can come back home, and their families will have them for a long time," Deputy Kelley said.

The boy and his father have been released from the hospital.

The sheriff's office boarded the old well back up. Sheriff Couch says the sheriff's office now plans to go around the county to make sure there are no more open wells. If there are, they plan to close them up or fill them with dirt.


Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1212 Augusta, GA 30903 Main Telephone: (803) 278-1212 Newsroom: (803) 278-3111 Fax: (803) 442-4561
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