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Woman survives being trapped in septic tank for days

CLACKAMAS COUNTY, Ore. — An Oregon woman almost died in an extremely unpleasant way after falling into a septic tank at her rural home, authorities say. Firefighters believe the Clackamas County woman was doing maintenance work when she fell into the tank, where she was trapped for up to three days, KPTV reports.

“It looks like there was work being done on the septic tank,” says Estacada Rural Fire District No. 69 division chief Richard Anderson. “There was a tractor in the area and a hole had been dug exposing the tank. And then she had fallen through about a 2-foot by 2-foot hole in kind of the rusted metal top of the tank.”

The woman, who lives alone, was found Tuesday afternoon when her daughter, who hadn’t heard from her in a few days, drove up to check on her.

Anderson says the woman was found lying with her face just above the raw sewage. He says she was alert enough to grab the handle of a tool that was lowered down, KATU reports.

“She was able to grab ahold of that, sit up slightly and they were able to get some other poles, a strap around her back and under her arms and then hoist her up out with that,” the chief says. He says she had no visible injuries but was taken by helicopter to a Portland hospital to be checked out for possible infections and the effects of having been in a space with limited oxygen for a long time.

A neighbor says that according to relatives, the woman is expected to make a full recovery. (This man ended up trapped in a “pretty full” toilet after trying to retrieve his friend’s phone.)

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