Woman survives 15 days trapped in well with a few cornstalks and rain water

BEIJING – A 38-year-old woman trapped in an empty well in China’s central Henan province survived for more than two weeks before being rescued earlier this week. 

Su Qixiu, a resident of Zhongfeng village, was reportedly foraging for medicinal herbs in a cornfield on Sept. 1 when she fell into an abandoned 12-foot well. According to a local paper, Dahe Daily, Su managed to grab a handful of cornstalks as she fell into the well, leaving her with a few ears of corn as her only provisions other than the rainwater that trickled in periodically.

Despite constant calls for help, no rescue came.

"I spent every day hoping that someone would walk by and rescue me,” she said according to Dahe Daily. “I called out every day, and although there was no response, I did not give up."

Finally on Monday, a farmer who tended the fields near the well heard her pleas for help and called officials.

The commander of the Xiayi County Fire Department said a fire team was rushed to the well and a fireman was lowered down to pull Su out. Su was wheeled to a waiting ambulance and rushed to the Xiayi County Red Cross Hospital in the city of Shangqiu.

Local media reports said that Su had originally weighed 115 pounds before the incident but had withered away to just 80 pounds by the time she was rescued.

The incident had clearly taken its toll.

"Although Su did not have any obvious injuries, she still could not speak or eat,” state news agency Xinhua Su reported.

Despite the significant weight loss, Su was in stable condition and had been visited by close family and friends, doctors at Xiayi County Red Cross Hospital said on the condition of anonymity. Su was expected to be released from the hospital in the coming days.

In response to the fall, the local fire commander urged officials to cover up the abandoned well to prevent future incidents.