Rescuers Work for 3 Hours to Save Man Who Fell 25 Feet Into Salt Pile, Unable to Move


 By Amanda Thomason  August 24, 2021 at 4:53pm

If you have even a hint of claustrophobia — or even just a healthy fear of danger in general — this story will stick with you.

On Monday, in Newington, New Hampshire, a man working on a pile of salt at Sprague Operating Resources was removing the tarps covering the salt in preparation for another delivery when he fell through a hole in the surface.

He ended up trapped up to his waist in the salt, 25 feet below the surface of the pile, in a hole about 18 inches across. According to Foster’s Daily Democrat, rainwater seeped under the tarps and created a hole in the salt pile, which the man had fallen into.

The 43-year-old anonymous worker was conscious, and thankfully a contractor on site noticed what happened and was able to inform the company of the man’s situation.

When help arrived, it arrived in many forms. Sprague, Portsmouth’s Department of Public Works, Dover’s Community Services, the National Wrecker Service, Middleton Building Supply, Chris-Co Construction Services, and multiple fire and rescue agencies showed up after being contacted shortly after 1 p.m.

“There was very little room for him to move,” Fire Chief EJ Hoyt explained.

Since the space was so cramped and the man so constricted, the going was slow. Firefighters planned to send a harness down so the man could hitch himself into it and get hauled up, but he had to free himself first.

So they sent down a single, five-gallon bucket, which the worker used to scoop up the salt around himself. He sent up bucketfuls of salt, one at a time, until he was free enough to move.

It took three hours of painstaking work, but eventually the man was freed from his predicament at 4:47 p.m.

Though the man didn’t seem to be injured, he was taken to a local hospital for an evaluation.

Hoyt recognized and thanked the many responding agencies.

“This is one of those that we could never handle on our own,” he said.

The Newington Fire Department followed suit, posting thanks online.

“Newington Fire would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the fire, police and public works departments along with several of our business partners that came out to assist today with a technical rescue,” the Newington Fire Department posted on Monday. “We are honored to have such great partners and neighbors.”

Shana Hoch, spokesperson for Sprague, extended the company’s gratitude as well in an email to Foster’s Daily Democrat.

“We are thankful to the emergency teams from Newington and surrounding fire departments who were onsite supporting the contractor and their employee’s successful extraction from the pile,” she wrote.

Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she’s strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.

As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn’t really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.

She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she’s had teal hair.

With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children’s books with her husband, Edward.


Austin, Texas

Languages Spoken

English und ein bißchen Deutsch

Topics of Expertise

Faith, Animals, Cooking

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