Man follows phone and glasses into sump pit, gets stuck upside down with water rising

A man stuck head-down in a sump-pump well Thursday with the water rising was able to keep breathing after Oak Bay police Const. Sheri Lucas jumped in and held his head up.

Oak Bay firefighters arrived and managed to pull the pair to safety, with the help of a Saanich police officer.

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“There was no way he was getting out of there without assistance,” said Oak Bay Deputy Fire Chief Gord Marshall. “And where he was, no one could hear him.

“Luckily it wasn’t raining at the time — otherwise the hole would have filled up on him.”

The drama played out about 2 p.m. in the backyard of a home in the 2800-block of Lansdowne Road.

Marshall said the man was servicing the pump, which was at the bottom of a 1.2-metre-deep pit.

After removing the pump, he accidentally dropped his cellphone and glasses into the pit, Marshall said. When he tried to retrieve them, he slipped in and got stuck under a pipe with his head facing down and his feet sticking out at the surface.

“In the bottom of the well, there’s a hole where the pump [usually] sits, and he had his head wedged just above the water line,” Marshall said. “It’s a sump well with no pump in it anymore.”

At that point, the man was able to get hold of his phone and call his family, who then called 911. Marshall said the man was “very lucky” the phone was within reach.

Firefighters first hoisted Lucas out, then got to the man. Removing him required some manipulation, and he was pulled out “basically by his boots,” Marshall said. “They pulled him out upside-down, out of the hole,” he said. “He was pretty cold, wet and shaken up.”

Paramedics treated him at the scene.

jwbell@timescolonist.com

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