Boy dies after fall into N.M. well

March 5, 2012 at 3:04 PM
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CARLSBAD, N.M., March 5 (UPI) -- Police are investigating the death of a 4-year-old boy found in a Carlsbad, N.M., well following a complex recovery attempt that ended Monday.

The body of Samuel Jones was recovered from a 30-foot well with a 14-inch diameter after rescue efforts by police, fire fighters, and construction and mining crews working through the weekend, authorities said. Digging into the hole at a slanted angle to keep the hole from collapsing, they reached the body at 7 a.m. MST, ABC News reported.

"They dug a huge hole surrounding a small diameter hole he fell into, to access him. There was some hand-digging at the last little bit," Carlsbad Fire Department Battalion Chief Ron Steven said. Jackhammers were used to break up rock surrounding the well.

The boy was originally thought to have been abducted, prompting the Amber Alert, but was located after a camera was inserted into the well on property adjacent to his home. He was last seen Saturday afternoon, playing at home with his cousins.

The Carlsbad Fire Department determined Sunday that the conditions of his fall, with low temperatures and a lack of oxygen at the bottom of the well, made it unlikely the boy would emerge alive.

An official cause of death has yet to be determined but investigators are treating it as a homicide, police said.

"This is hard on everyone. It breaks my heart, that little boy down there," heavy equipment operator and rescuer Paul Kartsener said.

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