A 4-year-old boy and his dog were rescued by emergency workers from a 23-foot hole in the backyard of his home in Brookhaven, Mississippi. It took dozens of helpers and over three hours to get them out.
It was just past 5 p.m., and Gabe Allbritton had been in the yard with his grandmother.
After hearing what sounded like his missing dog barking, Gabe set out to look for it, when suddenly he fell into the hole.
The dog had gone missing a day or two prior, and had most likely been stuck down there the entire time.
Gabe’s mother Linda Allbritton says the family was unaware of the hole, which had once been used as a water well, until Gabe fell in.
“We kept hollering but didn’t hear anything,” she told NBC News.
“It’s the worst that can ever happen.”
In the picture above, first responders can be seen talking to Gabe to help him remain calm. Water was sent down to keep him hydrated.
Despite being very deep, the hole was only a foot and a half wide; too narrow for rescuers to fit through. Officials had to call in a trench rescue crew, and people from all over town showed up to help.
“We had people show up with trackhoes, people show up with all kinds of equipment just to come out and help,” Sheriff Steve Rushing told ABC News.
“They just wanted to help get him out.”
After an hour and a half, emergency responders lowered a rope into the hole. However, the rescue device was too complicated for the young boy to attach.
“Just seeing him so close but so far was probably the hardest thing about it,” Rushing said.
It took a second attempt with a different device to finally free Gabe. Cheers broke out from the crowd that had gathered. Moments later, the rescuers also freed the dog, using a snare.
Both the boy and the dog were unharmed in the process.
Gabe was taken immediately to the hospital on a waiting ambulance. Despite the deep fall, he was thankfully uninjured.
“I just can’t say enough about what everybody did to get this little boy out of that well safe,” Lincoln County Civil Defense Director Clifford Galey told the Daily Leader newspaper.
To reward him for his bravery in such a scary situation, Gabe was promised pizza and a ride in the firetruck.