Woman Falls Into Septic Tank, is Rescued After Being Trapped for Days: 'I Can't Imagine Another Time This Has Happened'

An Oregon woman was rescued by firefighters this week after falling into a septic tank and remaining trapped there for up to three days, officials say.

First responders went to the woman's rural Estacada home on Tuesday and found the victim inside the tank, which is used by the property to treat sewage. Authorities were alerted by the victim's daughter, who became concerned after not hearing from her mother in days.

The victim, who declined to be identified, was found in the sewage roughly three feet underground at the bottom of the front yard tank, KPTV reported. "In my entire career, I can't imagine another time this has happened," Fire District No. 69 chief Richard Anderson stated.

The Estacada fire crew confirmed the call-out on its Facebook page on Wednesday, where it uploaded a series of images of the rescue, which lasted about 30 minutes.

In a caption, the department wrote: "Yesterday our crews responded to a confined space rescue call where an individual fell into a septic tank they were working on and had been in multiple days. Our crews were assisted by the Technical Rescue Team along with Engine 318 from Clackamas Fire. Once extricated the patient was transported to the hospital by [the helicopter] Lifeflight."

The woman lives at the property alone and it appeared there had been maintenance work being conducted on the septic tank at the time of the fall, KATU reported.

Paramedic Nick Wettlaufer noted: "It can be definitely [be] a scary situation, especially sitting at the bottom of a septic tank and you don't know that anybody's coming to get you." Luckily, the firefighters worked quickly, calling in additional resources to help with the rescue.

Anderson said: "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 chief said she was able to grasp the rescue tool handle.

"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," he elaborated, KATU reported. "She was somewhat laying down with her face above the water level. Once we got her out, she was pretty weak so we just got her straight onto the cot and laid her own."

The victim did not appear to have major physical injuries but was rushed to hospital to be given oxygen and checked for potential infections linked to the sewage, KPTV reported. A neighbor told the Oregon news outlet the woman is expected to make a recovery and will soon return home.