News Articles Part 2

Mud-trap boy in brush with death

A TERRIFIED schoolboy had to be hauled to safety after sinking to his waist in a muddy lodge as he took a short cut home.

And today Adam Ashworth's mum praised his two rescuers and claimed her son could have remained stranded all night if they hadn't spotted him struggling to free himself.

Tracey has vowed to find out why the drained lodge behind Ormerod Street, Accrington, wasn't fenced off.

Adam, of Bullough Close, Accrington, was on his way home from Peel Park Junior School, Manor Street, at 3.30pm yesterday when he decided to walk across the old lodge.

He said: "I thought it was concrete all the way across but it was mud. I started going down and then I fell in it."

Dale Moore, of Hopwood Street, Accrington, looked out of the canteen window at nearby SDL Trophies and saw Adam struggling to get free about ten yards from the edge. He called his friend Russell Nicol, of Elmfield Street, Church, and ran outside.

Dale said: "He was up to his waist and sinking as we got to him. He was screaming and we told him not to panic and not to thrash about.

"We had to pull a fence down to get wood to lie on top of the mud. I pulled and he wriggled his legs and I got him out."

The men carried Adam, who had lost both trainers, back to SDL Trophys and drove him home.

Mum Tracey said: "He was absolutely covered in mud, crying and absolutely freezing. I ran him a bath and I thought I had stopped him crying but when I went to get him some clean clothes, he started again. He's a tough nut, you can't make him cry. That's what got to me most of all.

"God only knows what could have happened to him if they hadn't looked out of the window."

Tracey had assumed he had called at his aunt's and said she wouldn't have started looking for him until 4.30pm.

"It would have been dark by then and I would never have thought of looking there. He could have been stuck there all night, or worse."

Boy in river drama

ACCIDENT prone Christian Wheadon, 11, was today back in hospital for the third time in a year - after his latest escapade ended with him being rescued from a river.

Christian, of Fair View Road, Burnley, was looking for fish in the River Calder near to Todmorden Road last night when he fell ten feet from a wall on to cobble stones next to the water.

In May last year he narrowly escaped death when he was trapped up to his waist in a muddy river bed and rescued just moments before passing out from the cold.
Since then he has spent a week in hospital with a badly burnt stomach after nail varnish he was playing with caught fire.

Friends raised the alarm after last night's accident and firefighters and paramedics strapped him on to a stretcher and lifted him out.

The operation took some time as it was thought Christian may have injured his back and neck.

Christian lives with his grandparents. His grandfather, Robert Holding, said: "He is a mischievous lad full of life and fun.

"In some ways he has been lucky, I think he must have nine lives and now he has had used up three of them. I just hope he is more careful in the future.

"He just loves fishing and two of the incidents have happened when he has been fishing in the river. "We were up at the hospital with him last night. He is covered in bruises all over his arms, legs and back. and his head was supported to prevent movement.'' Christian is in Burnley General Hospital where his condition today was described as comfortable.

Last May, Christian was playing on the banks of the River Calder at Padiham when he became lodged in the mud which sucked him in up to his waist.
His aunt, Catherine Holding, of Elizabeth Street, Padiham, and his grandfather tried to pull him clear but he was stuck fast.

When firefighters and paramedics finally pulled him out he was groggy and falling asleep and his legs were hurting him from the pressure of the mud and cold.
Paramedic Mark Cox said at the time: "He was absolutely petrified. The suction of the mud had pulled him right in and he couldn't move."

Hero Andy to the rescue

RESCUERS praised a hero who helped save a stranded youngster trapped in sinking sand on the banks of the Lune this week. Sainsbury's security guard Andy McVittie, 22, rushed to help Andrew Rouse of Ridge St, Lancaster who was isolated on the sand and surrounded by water on the south side of the river near the Greyhound Bridge. The petrified boy, who had walked down from Skerton Bridge in an effort to retrieve his football, cried out to passers-by who raised the alarm.

Andy remembered: "I was on my lunch and a woman came in to say there's a lad stuck in the river. So I ran out in completely the wrong direction! Then I ran back and jumped over the wall into the mud.

At the bottom I managed to get under the bridge, crawled to where he was and jumped on the pile of stones he was on.

"He was crying and was whimpering a bit. I chatted to him, asked him his name and what he had been doing and he got a bit better. The lad did well when he had to walk along the ladder to be hoisted when the fire brigade showed up. The whole thing was really alarming. Then the fire brigade chucked down a harness for me and I nearly fell off!

"But I was just glad to be able to reassure the lad." Assistant divisional officer Dominic Harrison of Lancaster Fire Station said: "The boy had been with his sister, who hadn't climbed down, and she came running to the back door of the fire station which is about 200 yards away.

"She was wailing and panicking. We were very quickly at the scene. When we got there the security from Sainsbury's had lowered himself down to be with the boy and comfort him.

"The tide comes in very quickly at that point and we could see that they were standing on nothing. Water was lapping around them and it must have come in about another foot or so... the lad was very lucky. He could easily have been killed. River banks are not playgrounds. Had he been a couple of miles further up or down the river the end result could have been quite different."

Death trap mine site blast

A FORMER opencast mine in Westhoughton has been declared a "death trap" for children after filling with heavy rain.

Town and district councillor David Wilkinson pictured has condemned the owner of the mine for not providing proper security.

But Rackwood Colliery Co Ltd says it is doing all it can to keep kids out and has begun draining the pit.

Cllr David Wilkinson said the former Bag Lane site, off Lower Leigh Road, was poorly fenced and dangerous.

He said: "It's a death trap. The fences are down and there's no difficulty in getting through. If the water levels go up the security should go up - this will keep nobody out."

He said the water was at least six feet deep in parts.

In May last year, a 10-year-old girl fell into thick mud while playing near the pit. She was rescued by a man living nearby - but he got stuck as he performed the rescue.

But Tom Allchurch, projects manager at the company based in Alfreton, Derbyshire, said the company had already employed a firm to repair the fencing and another firm was pumping out the water.

He said the water was being filtered through two large pools to take away poisonous sediment before being let into Lee Brook.

He said: "It is very difficult to keep people off the site. In the hot summer of 1996, even parents were breaking down the fence and lying next to the water pools on towels.

"We are conscious, however, of the potential dangers and intend to keep it as safe as possible."

He said emptying the pit would take eight weeks and added a man was being employed during half-term to stop youngsters from getting on to the site.

Work at the opencast mine stopped last summer and most of the hole which was left was filled in.

The company has now applied for planning permission to fill the rest with debris from the Gib Field Tip slag heap nearby.

Gareth's holiday horror

A BOY of nine today relived his horror at becoming trapped in dangerous quicksand during a family holiday. 

Gareth Thompson, of Fernview Drive, Holcombe Brook, was playing with friends on the beach at Arnside when he was caught in the notorious quicksand. 

He sank further until he was up to the top of his thighs. It became a race against time to rescue him before the tide which was just an hour away came in. 
Luckily for Gareth he was quickly spotted by some of the region's senior coastguard officers who happened to be holding a meeting at The Sailing Club nearby. 

Gareth, who is a pupil at Holly Mount RC Primary School in Greenmount, said: "My friend got his ankle stuck then I became stuck too. I just sank slowly down and didn't realise what was happening." His mum, Tracey, who was not so calm, said: "I tried not to make a fuss but inside I was very worried. When I saw Gareth stuck there I was speechless. All sorts of things were running through my mind but I realised he was in good hands." 

Station officer at Arnside Coast Guard, Mr George Crossman, said: "I was just washing up the mugs after the meeting when one of the station officers, who had just nipped out to his car for his sandwiches, came back in saying there's somebody shouting `quicksand' out there." 

He admitted that at first he thought they were joking but soon realised the seriousness of the situation, adding: "He had begun to panic, which is the worst thing that you can do." 

It took the men 20 minutes to free Gareth from the quicksand and he was treated for shock and hypothermia at Kendal's Westmorland Hospital. 

Gareth, who brushed off the incident as an adventure, said: "I wasn't really that worried. They said the tide was coming in soon and the air ambulance would have had to be called out but it was cancelled. It was very cold and wet though." 
Tracey (38), husband Mark (38), Gareth and his 15-month-old sister Georgia, were enjoying a short camping break with another couple and their children, aged 12 and 13, when the drama unfolded. 

Added Tracey: "I couldn't believe it. He is adventurous and I can't hold him back but it certainly spoiled my holiday."

Beach terror of boy, nine

A BOY relived his horror at being trapped in quicksand during a family holiday. 
Gareth Thompson, aged nine, of Fernview Drive, Holcombe Brook, was playing with friends on the beach at Arnside. 

He sank thigh-deep and the race against time to rescue him began before the tide came in. 

Gareth was quickly spotted by coastguards who were holding a meeting at the nearby Sailing Club. 

It took the men 20 minutes to free him from the quicksand and he was treated for shock and hypothermia at Kendal's Westmorland Hospital. 

Gareth, a pupil at Holly Mount RC Primary School, Greenmount, said: "My friend got his ankle stuck then I became stuck too. I just sank down and didn't realise what was happening. 

"I wasn't really that worried. They said the tide was coming in soon and the air ambulance would have had to be called out but it was cancelled. It was very cold and wet though." Gareth Thompson

Teenager rescued from peat bog trap

POLICE and firemen have issued a warning to youngsters after a 15-year-old boy was trapped for two hours in a quagmire at Red Moss, Horwich.

Wayne Gregory, of Chorley New Road, Horwich, had been riding a trials bike on the Bolton Sports Village site near Aspinall Street, when the machine became stuck and started to sink. One of the boy's friends, who was with him, ran off to get help. Firemen from Horwich attended at about 6pm and eventually freed the youngster by throwing a line round him and pulled him out.

The teenager was taken to the Royal Bolton Hospital where he was discharged after treatment.

A fire brigade spokesman said the boy was stuck up to his waist for about two hours.

He said the area where the bike was being ridden is full of trenches and is very boggy. He warned local youngsters to stay away from the area.

The warning is also repeated by Horwich Police.

Sgt Tony Howarth said: "The area is all peat and very boggy as all local people will know. It is not a place where children should be playing."

Red Moss peat bog warning


I wish to warn families with children of the dangers on the peat bog on the Red Moss. Our family have lived on the Moss for 50 years. My children were never allowed to go anywhere near the dykes. They are seven foot deep, full of sludge and a child would not stand a chance of getting out alone; the more he struggled, as you know, the deeper he would sink.

Mrs W Partington

Thanks very slutch!

A FATHER has praised a man who rescued his daughter from a mud trap at an opencast site.

Mr John Bond, whose daughter Jessica, 10, was stuck up to her chest, said he will always be grateful to John Morvelle, who lives close to the site on Lower Leigh Road, Westhoughton.

"I can't thank him enough for what he did," said Mr Bond, of Ash Grove, Westhoughton. "It could have been very serious, if he had not been there to help."

As reported in Monday's BEN, the drama unfolded on Saturday afternoon when Jessica and her brother Darren were playing with friends on the site.

Jessica slid into a drained lagoon and became trapped.

Darren, aged 14, ran for help to Mr Morvelle, who managed to pull Jessica free with a rope.

But he became stuck and had to be hauled to safety by firemen.

The first Mr Bond knew of the drama was when one of Jessica's friends ran to tell him.

"When I got there I started to panic because I couldn't see her at first and thought she had gone under. But then I spotted her at the top," said Mr Bond.
"She knows now how dangerous it could have been, and I've banned them both from going there again."

Mr Bond is calling for the area to be fenced off. As a result of the incident Westhoughton councillor David Wilkinson has asked Bolton Council's Minerals Officer, Stuart Perigo to investgate safety at the site.

Cllr Wilkinson said that only last week Mr Perigo and representatives of the opencast company had a site meeting. The plan, said Cllr Wilkinson, was to empty the lagoons of water and clear slurry, and also make the steep sides more gently sloped.

Cllr Wilkinson said he would be asking about fencing but added that it was difficult to stop vandals from ripping holes in fences.

Jessica, a pupil at Eatock Primary School, was none the worse for her ordeal.

Boy rescued from marsh
by our news team 

A boy of eight was taken to hospital after sinking waist-deep in a marshy bog. 
Firefighters pulled the boy to safety after he got trapped walking across a field with a young girl. 

The youngster, who has not been named, was taken to Eastbourne District General Hospital, where he was treated for hypothermia. 

The alarm was raised shortly after 6.20pm on Saturday when the fire brigade received reports of a child trapped up to his knees on land next to the new link road at Willingdon Drove, Eastbourne. 

Two fire crews from Eastbourne arrived to find the youngster had already sunk to waist level. 

Assistant divisional officer Dick Ashley said: "A specialist crew was on its way from Crowborough with an inflatable rescue path but officers rescued him with a tug and a pull before it arrived. 

"It was very dark and, although we're not medics, we suspected something like hypothermia was setting in. 

"The officers waded through the mud but weren't in any danger because they took it very carefully and steadily. 

"They were in a bit of a state when they were finished though - very wet and muddy." 

The fire brigade said people should always be aware of the ground they were walking on and avoid areas known to be marshy, particularly with icy weather coming up. 

South Woodham Ferrers: Mud flats rescue 

Three boys were rescued from mud saltings off South Woodham Ferrers. The boys, all aged 14, were stranded on the mud flats at 4.24pm yesterday as the tide began to go out.

An emergency call was received by the coastguard and the boys were airlifted by RAF helicopter and taken to Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford, where they were treated for the effects of exhaustion.

Dovercourt: Young girls saved from mud 

A dramatic rescue was staged to save two children stuck in mud off Dovercourt.
An RAF Sea King air sea rescue helicopter was used to pluck two 13-year-old girls to safety after they were stuck in mud about 200 yards off Dovercourt at about 8.20pm on Tuesday night.

Police from Walton, coastguards from Walton and Felixstowe, and Harwich inshore lifeboat were called to attend the scene after the alarm was raised from the Dovercourt Caravan Park.

A spokesman for HM Coastguard at Walton said a member of the public had heard shouts coming from beyond the sea wall.

The RAF Sea King rescue helicopter was scrambled at 8.23pm and reached the site at about 8.40pm.

They quickly brought the situation under control and the two friends, Gemma Halesworth and Rebecca Brittain, both of Dovercourt, were taken by helicopter to the Heath Road hospital in Ipswich where they were being treated for effects of the cold.

It is believed both girls were mountain biking on the beach before the incident - their bikes were also winched into the helicopter.

The spokesman for the coastguard said: "When I was young I used to go on the beach and many children do the same. You cannot stop them.

"It is very difficult to know what to do but at least these girls seemed sensible and stayed where they were. They could have got themselves into more trouble."

"It was actually quite a straightforward operation, but they were probably quite muddy." 

Southend: PC plucks youth from rising tide 

A policeman was today hailed a hero after he braved freezing water to rescue a teenager stuck in the mud off Southend seafront.

PC Graham Warboys, of Rayleigh traffic police, was on routine patrol in Southend at just after midnight yesterday morning when he heard on the radio that someone was in trouble in the water off Marine Parade.

He answered the call and discovered an 18-year-old boy was stuck in the mud, with the tide rising around him.

His friends and members of the public had tried to help but could not get him out of the sea.

PC Warboys waded into the icy cold water and pulled the boy ashore.

The teenager was taken to Southend Hospital by ambulance suffering from slight hypothermia. He also had a sprained ankle.

An Essex Police spokesman said: "It is thanks to the quick thinking and bravery of the officer that he was brought out of the water and prevented from drowning. 

He is quite a hero."

The 18-year-old lives in London but was in Southend staying with friends.
It is believed he was messing about on the beach and ran out into the water, where he managed to get one of his feet stuck in a hole in the mud

Stick-in-the-mud teens saved by firefighters

February 14, 2001 16:54: Three teenagers had a lucky escape when fire officers rushed to their rescue after a short cut got them stuck in the mud.

Firefighters from Staines and Sunbury were called to the rescue at approximately 12.15pm on Thursday last week, however, they first had to locate the hapless trio who had become bogged in one of the fields adjacent to London Road. 

The boys were returning home after a night out when they decided to take the short cut across fields but had not considered the impact of recent rainstorms and managed to wade into a muddy bog.

Fortunately, one of the boys had a mobile phone and managed to contact the fire service, officers then kept the boy and his friends talking while they attempted to find them.

A fire officer from Staines said: "Sunbury fire service assisted with the incident because we didn't know where these boys were so we had to look for them."
The three were eventually found and pulled out of the mud, cold but unharmed. However, the outcome was not a complete success, as one of the boys had to return home to explain the absence of a £100 new pair of trainers which were mislaid during the operation. 

"I wouldn't have liked to have been in his shoes, I think he was a little worried about his mum," said the officer.

Hero playmates are praised 

FOUR young Bulford boys have been praised for their bravery after risking their lives to save a six-year-old friend. 

Jimmy Dean Ball was playing with his friends at Bulford Camp on Sunday afternoon (December 17) when he fell from a log into a marsh and sank up to his neck in mud. Unable to free himself, his struggles only made him sink further. 
Jimmy screamed out and without a thought for their own safety his four friends ran to his aid. 

Ten-year-old Christian McFarlane and Damian Matzen, aged nine, reached him first and between them hauled Jimmy up enough for 12-year-old James Matzen and Luke Steele (11) to take over and pull him clear of the sticky mud. 

They then helped get Jimmy on to Luke's shoulders and he carried him to one of their homes. 

Jimmy's mother Mandy Ball said: "They risked their lives to help him. He wouldn't have survived without them. What can I say to them Thank you seems so inadequate." 

Ministry of Defence police community beat officer PC Viv Phillips arranged for them to receive certificates marking their bravery in front of pupils at Kiwi School where Jimmy, Damian and Christian are pupils. 

Danger at Thurstaston

COASTGUARDS have issued a warning after a woman and schoolboy were rescued when they became trapped up to their waists in mud on the shore at Thurstaston, off Wirral Country Park.

Firemen used ladders on plastic sheets to reach the pair, who were believed to have come from Warrington. Park Rangers had tried to pull them out, but a human chain of firemen was needed.

The two were collecting shells and became stuck as the tide started coming in. 
Locals know this area of beach is dangerous but visitors do not. Two teenagers have also been rescued after being trapped in ankle-deep mud.

Now emergency services are warning people to be careful, especially during the Summer school holidays.


Angie Francalancia
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer 

THE ACREAGE - Michael Borrelli lurched backward as the passenger side of the Ford pickup sank to the tailgate into the soft mud of a construction site Thursday.

When he stepped from the cab, Borrelli immediately sank to his chest in the brown ooze that had absorbed 10 inches of rain in the previous 24 hours. ``When I went around the truck, I saw him up to here,'' said driver Brent Brown, raising his arms to his chest. ``At first we were both laughing. Then when I started trying to get him out, I said, `He's not coming.' ''

Brown, who was training Borrelli on his third day of work for Cypress Communications, was able to pull Borrelli out to his waist.

He then started yelling for help; passersby saw him and called 911.

When Palm Beach County Fire Rescue's special operations team arrived, they called for heavy equipment operators to help dig out Borrelli.

Brown and Borrelli were seeking a shortcut on their way to lunch and sank in dirt that the Indian Trail Improvement District had recently pushed atop a culvert pipe and drainage structure.

Indian Trail, which provides roads and drainage in The Acreage, is extending Orange Grove Boulevard across the canal that runs adjacent to 130 Avenue, said Ralph Sorgie, an engineering assistant from Indian Trail. A crew had recently installed the catch basin, a rectangular concrete box that catches storm water, in the center of what appeared to be a road.

Borrelli stepped into that box.

It took rescue workers more than an hour to dig around the 32-year-old Borrelli and free him.

Using wood boards to hold back the mud and water, rescue workers then strapped a rope harness around Borrelli to prevent him from sinking deep.

Before they pulled him out, paramedics inserted an IV in his arm to prevent him from going into shock.

``He's been down there quite a while, and that water is cold,'' said Nigel Baker, fire rescue spokesman.

Borrelli was taken to Palms West Hospital where he was treated for mild hypothermia and released late Thursday.

J.W. Cheatham Construction had parked its heavy equipment across the site, but neighbors said that had not stopped cars from trying to cross and kids from playing there.

``If that were a kid, he would have been in over his head,'' Tammy Callahan said. ``He's lucky that truck didn't fall in on him.'' 

Georgetown boy saved from gravel quarry

Scott Marckini (age 11) was playing with two friends last night at the gravel company in Jenison. They climbed up on a the hopper of a gravel sifter -- and Scott fell in. It was like quicksand. 

As he struggled he sank to his waist and figured out he better stop struggling. He was trapped in 50 tons of gravel. After a while it was like cement -- he couldn't move his legs or even wiggle his toes. He was in there for two hours before his friends went for help. 

Georgetown fire department sent their Technical Rescue Squad. They had 500 hours of training and this was their first call. The job was to pull the gravel away from the kid, instead of pulling the kid out of the gravel -- and maybe ripping his legs off in the process. And they had to get him out before the pressure permanently damaged his legs. They used a torch to cut holes in the side of the hopper and drain it. They got him out after six hours, and he's fine. 

Miraculous Rescue Of Ring Gaeltacht Schoolgirl

A 12 year old schoolgirl was removed to Waterford Regional Hospital last week after what Gardai described as his "miraculous rescue" in horrendous conditions in Dungarvan Bay.

Gail Kelly, a student at Colaiste na Rinne, in the Ring Gaeltacht (Irish speaking area), was chest high in thick mud with the tide fast filling around her, when she was rescued in an inflatable rubber dinghy.

The girl was making her way into Dungarvan via the shoreline when she got into difficulties. After the alarm was raised, local Gardai waded out to the girl, but couldn't get within 40 metres of her. Meanwhile, local Telecom Eireann employee Frank Shorthall, got to the girl, in his dingy. It took Mr. Shorthall six tense minutes to drag the girl from the mud, with the water level ever increasing.

Suffering from shock and the extreme cold, the girl was removed to Waterford Regional Hospital, from where she was discharged the following day.

Danger on Skeidarársandur

Danger signs are being put up on the sands of Skeidarársandur as the huge icebergs deposited after the ensuing flood from last year's eruption under the Vatnajökull glacier begin to melt.

A man and a boy have already fallen into deep pits filled with sand and water that lie in the shadows of the ice chunks. With spring's thaw the pits will become larger forming death traps of quick sand


    A 10-year-old Phoenix girl was rescued by Utah State Park Officer Neil Wilcox on Wednesday after Wilcox trudged through a mud bog at the Great Salt Lake to hold the girls's head above the mud while others pulled the two to safety. Vicky Major was visiting the lake with family when she got stuck. She had sunk to her neck by the time Wilcox spotted her about two miles north of the Salt Air Resort. Late Wednesday, Major was in critical condition at Primary Children's Medical Center. 

Massive rainfall floods basement, puts kids in peril

CALGARY (CP) _ Rescuers had to pluck a handful of children from a muddy sinkhole Saturday after Calgary was pounded with 43.2 millimetres of rain. The children were playing near a metre-wide pit created when city workers removed a large tree from a park. 

A seven-year-old boy's bike got stuck in the mud and when he tried to pull it out, he fell in and sank up to his neck within seconds. Other children tried to help and themselves became trapped. ``It came up to my neck,'' said seven-year-old Tanya Dawn Duvois, who was pulled from the hole by firemen. 

``(The mud) is just like quick-sand,'' said Marvin Smith Big-Plume. ``The mud was up to their necks when I saw the kids.'' The wet weather also played a role in a crash early Saturday morning on the Trans-Canada Highway west of Chestermere Lake, said RCMP Const. Mike Ritchie. 

Common Council Memorial Building

Present were Mayor Bill Abplanalp, Council Members Barb Walsman, John Irrgang, Rich Weisenbach, Bobbie Brandes, and Rick Fledderman, City Attomey Doug Wilson, and City Clerk-Treasurer Peggy Dickson. 

John Irrgang made a motion, seconded by Rick Fledderman, to accept minutes as written from previous meeting. All Ayes So Passed. 

Mayor Bill Abplanalp commended Todd Schutte and Tim Flodder, Volunteer firemen, for saving two Girls Scouts that had fallen into a creek and were stuck in the mud and were in danger behind their home. 

Rich Weisenbach made a motion to adjourn. seconded by Rick Fledderman. All Ayes So Passed. Meeting adjourned 8:03 p.m. 

Teen Rescued From Construction Site 

A fourteen year old Gastonia youth learned first hand what it means to be "a stick in the mud." Conan Kimble fell into a mud pit at a construction site yesterday afternoon and was stuck up to his waist. It took about an hour and a half for rescue workers to dig him out. Authorities had to bring in a back hoe and heavy equipment to flush Conan loose. He was treated and released from the hospital.

Children Waist Deep in Mud 

Thursday 6 August saw the dramatic rescue of Jenny Bowers, aged nine, and her friend Jodie Griffiths, aged 10, from the Mudflats off Fowley Island, near the Emsworth Sailing Club, in Bath Road.

The pair where part of a group of 6 children who had dared each other to go out the furthest, a game that nearly cost two of them their lives. They were both pulled from the mudflats by lifeboat men then transferred to the Air Sea Rescue helicopter from Lee-on-Solent.

The group and wandered out, just after lunch, through the gully pictured in the first photograph above. However Jenny, Jodie and her brother Danny, 12, wandered off further than the rest of the group and quickly sank to waist deep in the mud. With the tide starting to rush in around them other members on the group ran to Emsworth Sailing Club shouting for help.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue, Coastguards, the Hayling Island Lifeboat and Hampshire Ambulance all arrived at the scene minutes later. The girls were taken to the Royal Hospital Haslar, Gosport suffering from mild hypothermia, but have now made a full recovery.

Boy rescued from ordeal in mud hole

WINCHENDON WINCHENDON - Two budding football players escaped injury yesterday afternoon when they became mired in icy mud in a sand pit off Brown Street. Fire Capt. Ricci B. Ruschioni said rescuers pulled Girard Breau, 12, of 355 Brown St. from waist-deep mud in the Van Dyke sand pit behind 348 Brown St. 

His companion, Jeremy Woodward, 10, of 415 School St., freed himself before rescuers arrived, Ruschioni said. 

Both boys were taken by Winchendon Fire Department ambulance to Heywood Hospital, Gardner, where they were treated and released. 

"It was a team effort," said Fire Lt. Gerald A. Valliere. He, Lt. Martin Brooks, firefighter Andrew Brooks, police Officer James W. Spofford, and Dennis A. Girard of 333 Brown St. dragged Breau out of the pit about 3:30 p.m. The boys had become trapped about a half hour earlier. 

Ruschioni said Spofford, who arrived first on the scene, almost succeeded in pulling Breau from the pit with a pair of automotive jumper cables. 

Eventually, the captain said, the rescuers got a harness around the boy, created solid footing with planks supplied by Girard, and generated enough leverage to pull the boy out. 

Ruschioni said that while the mud hole was only about four feet in diameter, its edges were extremely slippery and the mud kept oozing back around the boy as quickly as the rescuers removed it. 

They kept talking with Breau to keep his spirits up, and he remained calm throughout the ordeal. 

"The kid was very fortunate," Ruschioni said. Both boys were very cold and the temperature was falling so much that ice was beginning to form around the hole. 

He said the boys were part of a larger group that was playing football in the area. The others ran to homes on Brown Street for help. 


ENFIELD -- Firefighters had to rescue an 8-year-old boy who sank waist-deep into mud Monday afternoon as he walked across a vacant lot. Neighbors along First Avenue heard the boy yell, and tried to dig away some of the mud to free him. But he was in too deeply, and North Thompsonville firefighters were called about 4 p.m. to help. 

"It was about up to his waist when we got here. He couldn't move; he was sunk right in," Fire Chief Earl Provencher said. 

Provencher and Firefighter Chuck Schiralli held the boy, Jimmy Whittemore, in place while they dug away mud with shovels. 

"We were scooping the mud out, and we got each leg free and then we could pull him out," Schiralli said. 

Jimmy was not hurt, and walked to his grandmother's First Street house afterward to clean up. 

"We were walking, and I ended up sinking," Jimmy said later. 

Provencher said North Thompsonville firefighters helped at the scene of a similar accident in Longmeadow, Mass., Sunday. He recommended that pedestrians -- particularly children -- be careful walking around muddy land during this season. 

"There are sandy areas that get wet, and they look just like a puddle until you get sucked in," Provencher said. 

Pittsfield teen-agers escape gravel pit Mud nearly envelops young fishermen

PITTSFIELD -- Two Pittsfield teen-agers fishing in a gravel pit misjudged the stability of the pit walls Wednesday and ended up stuck in muck -- one up to his hips, the other up to his neck. "I thought we were going to die," Peter Boucher, 14, said Wednesday afternoon. "I was really scared. I almost began saying my prayers." 

Boucher and Matt Bennett, also 14, had headed out about 11:30 a.m. Wednesday for a simple summer day of fishing at the gravel pit. 

The pit has existed for years alongside the Sebasticook River off Hartland Avenue but has been excavated recently as part of an expansion project for the J.W. Parks Golf Course. 

According to Pittsfield Police Chief Steve Emery, the construction work has created a dangerous situation where the walls of the pit are 20 feet high and unstable. As the pit is being filled in, he said, the fill is turning the bottom of the pit into mud. 

"It's just like quicksand down there," he said. 

Boucher said that he and Bennett were walking along the edge of the pit when they cast their lines into the water. 

"All of sudden, Matt slipped and I went to grab him," the youth said. "The rocks just kept falling out from under our feet. Then we were in the water. It was about up to my stomach, but Matt was up to his neck. 

"My first thought was `We're going to die.' Matt was yelling and screaming for help," he said. 

Bennett said the water, sand and gravel combined to make a heavy mud that prevented him from moving toward the pit's edge. 

"It felt like it was pulling me back down and that I was sinking," he said. "I was very scared." 

Boucher said the gravel continued slowly to roll into the pit, and he was afraid they would be buried. "I managed to get to the side and kept yelling to Matt to come to me," said Boucher. 

Just before noon Wednesday, a Hartland Avenue resident reported to police that he could hear boys screaming for help from the pit. At first, fire and rescue personnel believed the boys were drowning in either the pit or the nearby river, and the Fire Department rescue boat was dispatched. 

There was also confusion about just which pit was the scene of the emergency as another pit exists about a quarter-mile north on the same road. 

Emery said that by the time rescuers arrived, the two boys had managed to crawl out of the mud. "They weren't hurt," he said, "but they were pretty scared." 

"The whole thing took seven minutes," the chief said, pleased at the fast response of rescue and fire personnel. When the call was received, two Pittsfield officers, state Trooper Bernie Brunette, Sebasticook Valley Ambulance and half a dozen firefighters rushed to the scene. 

Emery said he had asked the landowner, Stanley Kitchen, to post the area and possibly fence it off until construction is complete. 

As for the two teens: "I am never going fishing there again," vowed Bennett. 


Kenneth "Scooter" Cooper and his pal, Khristopher Thomas, hang out together in Teaneck. They're little kids _ 10 and 12, respectively _ and the bond between them is strong. So when Scooter suddenly found himself neck-deep in mud that was sucking him down like quicksand, Khristopher went into action. 

The more Scooter struggled to pull himself out, the deeper he sank. 

"I was scared. I thought I was going to die," Scooter said. "I was panicking, and that made it worse." 

Luckily, Khristopher, a Boy Scout, didn't panic. He had taken his basic-aid training seriously. He looked for a tree branch strong enough to extend to his buddy, but there was none to be found. Khristopher yelled for help, but nobody came. 

The thought of running for grown-up assistance was not an option. "It would have been too late," Khristopher said. "Scooter's head was about all there was left showing." 

So Khristopher wrapped his hands around the strong roots of a tree and held on with all his might. His back to Scooter, he threw his legs into the mud near Scooter's face. 

Scooter grabbed the bottom of Khristopher's legs, trusting that his friend would pull him to safety. 

"I knew I could depend on him because he's like . . . well, he's my best friend," Scooter said. 

Testing their friendship was hardly what the kids had in mind when they ventured onto the Overpeck Golf Course in Teaneck that April afternoon. 

They wandered into a wooded area to hunt for lost golf balls they hoped to sell for 50 cents each. 

"I told him I'd beat him to the balls first," Scooter remembers. 

It looked a bit swampy and messy, but the boys thought nothing of it. 

"To me, the ground looked clear, but it was mud and it was taking me down," Scooter said. "I kept trying to get closer to the grass, trying to step out of it, but I was sinking more and more." 

As he was sinking, he yelled to his friend, "Come here, I need help!" 

Scooter's young life was flashing before him. He thought about how much he'd miss his mother and sister if the unthinkable happened. 

Khristopher, meanwhile, was thinking: Don't panic. 

"I was thinking that I had to keep my head," he said. "I was thinking positive, that I would get him out." 

That positive attitude has familial roots. Khristopher's father, Ken Thomas, was a volunteer firefighter in Fort Lee before the family moved to Teaneck. Khristopher's maternal grandfather was a doctor, and his maternal grandmother a nurse. 

"My dad got me started early helping others as a volunteer at the hospital," said Kathy Sperber, Khristopher's mom. "He always told me that if you can help someone medically, do it. If you can't, just hold their hand. Don't do anything more than you know unless it's life-threatening." 

Sperber, who gave up studying to be a paramedic because of severe neck and back problems, wanted her son to be prepared. A den mother and a paralegal, she knew Khristopher could gain self-confidence and help others through Scouting and basic-aid training offered by the Bergen County Red Cross. 

She was proven right when Scooter got into trouble. 

"If I had a rope, I could have tied myself to a tree, but there was nothing like that around," Khristopher said. 

He remembers yelling for help and seeing golfers in the distance look over. Perhaps the golfers did not recognize the urgency. But Khristopher questions why they didn't respond. 

"Only Scooter's head was above the ground, and he's not that short!" he said. 

Khristopher grabbed onto the strong roots of the tree and threw his legs to his pal like a life preserver. Scooter was fighting to keep his head above the muck as he grabbed onto his friend's legs. 

"Khris was almost going down with me," Scooter said. "I think my fleece pants and sweat shirt didn't help, because they were weighed down with mud. Then Khris tugged some more, and I went up and onto the ground." 

Shaken, the boys hopped over a fence and ran to a nearby baseball field, where they knew Khristopher's mother was supervising other children. 

"We were in shock," Khristopher said. "I had a pain in my chest I was breathing so hard." 

Kathy Sperber remembers being shocked, too, at the sight of the boys' rushing toward her. "Scooter could barely walk he was so weighted down with mud, and they were both very upset. They were both so filthy and soaked with mud, especially Scooter, who was covered in it up to his face. I thought, `What the heck happened to you two?'" It wasn't the first time Khristopher had helped another child. Two years ago at Tomahawk Lake in Sussex County, he came down a water slide into a 3-foot-deep pool. Just as he was about to get out, a smaller child came down and struggled in the water to regain his breath. 

"Khris grabbed the child and pulled him to safety," Sperber said. 

Now, Khristopher has saved Scooter. "His father and I are both very proud of him," Sperber said. "He uses his head and does what he has to do. Like other members of this family, he doesn't panic." 

But the highest praise for Khristopher came from Scooter, his neighborhood pal and Little League teammate who knows a true friend when he sees one. 

"From the minute Khris came over to me, I knew I wouldn't die," he said. "I trusted him, and I knew everything was going to be all right."

Special Scouts
Boys who hit mudhole owe their lives to quick-thinking twins

By Charlotte Woodham
County Line staff writer

Nine-year-old Zach Sherr lost his shoes and socks in a 30-foot-deep mudhole near his Orange Park home last October. But he didn't lose his life, thanks to some quick-thinking neighbors who have received medals for their heroism.

Identical twins Michael and Colin Harling, sixth-graders at Orange Park Elementary School, received lifesaving awards from Boy Scouts of America at a ceremony last week at Orange Park Country Club. Michael received the Boy Scout Medal of Honor and Colin the Boy Scout Heroism Award for helping save Zach and his friend Andrew Hunt.

What began as a child's game turned into a fast-paced drama and a lesson for two fourth-graders at Orange Park Elementary. And the drama could have had tragic consequences, had it not been for a 12-year-old's quick thinking.

According to Andrew, he and Zach were playing soldiers in a wooded area next to Zach's house.

''All of a sudden we hit this place with deep mud and we started sinking,'' Andrew said in a telephone interview. ''We tried to get out, but the more we moved, the deeper we got.''

Michael, who was doing chores at this home next door, heard screaming and went to investigate.

''I saw them. They were chest-deep in the mud,'' Michael said. ''I went to get my dad.'' 

Michael's father, John Harling, tried to pull the boys out but started sinking himself.

Michael's twin, Colin, who had been playing in the neighborhood, saw the commotion when he came home.

''It took me a little while to figure out what happened. Then I saw Mike jump in the mud,'' he said. ''I was scared that he would get stuck, too.''

But Michael didn't get stuck. When he couldn't pry the boys loose, he went home for some rope, which he and Colin used to pull out their father, Zach and Andrew.

Harling said the action took some quick thinking on his son's part.

''Michael didn't freak out,'' Harling said. ''He was very, very calm.''

Zach said both he and Andrew suffered scratches on their bodies from the mud. But other than that and some very dirty clothes, they were fine.

Andrew said he and Zach still play together, but not where the mud is. His advice to anyone who gets stuck in the mud is not to move around a lot.

''Because you get deeper,'' he said. ''Just stay still and call real loud for somebody to come put a rope around your waist and pull you out.''

Becky Harling, who was working at her job at CSX Transportation in Jacksonville when the rescue took place, said her family downplayed it to her.

''I went to do the laundry and found these hideously dirty clothes,'' she said. ''That's when they told me about it.''

She said when she learned what had happened she felt ''impressed, appalled and excited.''

''But today I'm on Cloud Nine,'' she said last week after the awards ceremony. ''I've been wandering the halls showing people the medals and telling everybody, 'See what my kids did.' ''

Michael said he feels good about his medal, too. ''I can wear it on my Scout uniform for special occasions like an Eagle ceremony,'' he said.

Colin said he sometimes plays with Zach and Andrew, but he's glad he wasn't playing with them the day they got stuck in the mud.

''It was real scary,'' he said.

Colin said he thinks if he'd gotten to Zach and Andrew first, he'd have done the same thing Michael did.

''Except I'd probably have stayed with the boys and sent my brother for the rope,'' he said. ''But I'm proud of us both.''


Anthony DiLeone, 16, and Matt Chaney, 15, were walking along the rim of a rain-soaked construction pit in the Ramsgate neighborhood Thursday afternoon when they began to sink into the earth. DiLeone sank first - but his friend sank longer. 

When Chaney stepped into the soupy mud, he sank up to his waist, where he remained for much of the afternoon. It took 20 rescue workers nearly two hours to free him. The teen was taken to a hospital for hypothermia, but otherwise seemed fine after the ordeal, a paramedic said. 

DiLeone and Chaney had biked from their homes about two miles away to meet friends at the construction site at the end of Sydenham Boulevard, DiLeone said. 

They planned to go mudsliding, but when they arrived, their friends weren't there, he said. They biked to the far side of the pit, parked their bikes and walked about 50 yards before they started sinking. 

Joel Price, who works at the site, found them near the edge of the pit where the construction workers pile topsoil and backfill. Two weeks of rain had turned the topsoil and backfill into a thick soup of mud. 

"It looked like sturdy mud," said DiLeone, who managed to step out of the waist-deep mud before his friend got stuck. 

DiLeone tried to pull his friend out but couldn't. Then they saw a truck approaching the pit and waved the driver down. 

The driver, Price, had stopped by to see if he'd be able to work the next day. Price tried pulling Chaney out - first by hand and then by attaching a rope to a bulldozer, he said. Neither worked. 

He called 911 at 3:45 p.m., a half-hour after Chaney had sunk. 

A crew of about 20 fire and rescue workers dug and pulled for nearly two hours before Chaney was free of the mud's grip, Battalion Chief Hugh M. Willey said. 

"The mud was like soup," Willey said. "It acts like a suction once you get in."

Chaney was in stable condition at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital on Thursday night. 

"One of the firefighters said I actually saved his life because he wouldn't have been able to make it out there, the water was so cold," Price said. 

Rescue workers hauled in about 25 pieces of plywood, some as large as 4 feet by 8 feet, Willey said. They used shovels and their hands to dig the mud away from Chaney and the planks of plywood to keep it away, he said. 

They slid in a backboard and attached it to Chaney. They also put him in a harness attached to a taut rope to keep him from sinking deeper, Willey said. And as night fell, they lighted the site with a generator and lights, and continued to dig. 

"It was a long process trying to get him out of there," Price said. "They'd dig and then the mud would fall back in. They had to dig a lot by hand because of his legs. 

"When they finally got him out, he was scared and real cold. But he seemed OK. He was still talking." 

Man Stuck in Mud Almost Died

ATLANTA (AP) -- The three hours Kenny Beach spent stuck in the bottom of a saltwater creek bed seemed agonizingly long. 

``Once the tide started coming in, it was like everything's in slow motion,'' said Beach, who was minutes away from drowning in a marsh outside Brunswick earlier this week. 

``It's a feeling I never want to have happen again,'' Beach, 28, said Thursday in a telephone interview. 

When the tide pushed the water up to his nose, he believed he would soon drown. He made his peace with God, and then he saw a light. 

``Dying's not so bad,'' Beach thought as a calm feeling came over him. 

But the light came from rescuers who had been frantically searching for him Tuesday evening. Two days after being pulled from the muck, Beach still couldn't believe his fortune. 

``Monday's my birthday, and I really thought I wasn't going to have another one,'' Beach said. ``I'm still so sore I can hardly move.'' 

The ordeal began after Beach, an architecture student, took his small rowboat out into a Fancy Bluff Creek tributary that runs behind his house to recover some pieces of a broken dock. 

With his cocker spaniel Goldie along for the ride, Beach made his way into a saltwater marsh common to the southeastern Georgia coast. 

Because the creek was down at low tide, he had to leave the boat and walk up the muddy creek bed to retrieve the dock pieces. Beach checked his footing before getting out of the boat, but was immediately sucked into the sinkhole three steps away. 

``It was instantaneous,'' Beach said. ``I was up to my waist before I knew it, and the more I struggled, the more I sank. I was eventually in up to my neck, and it created a suction where I couldn't get out.'' 

At worst, he thought someone would hear his calls for help and pull him out within a half-hour or so. Not wanting Goldie to drift away, he pulled the boat closer to him and waited. 

About an hour later, Beach's yells for help became more urgent as the tide started coming in. His mother-in-law finally heard him and called 911. 

While waiting for rescue, Beach said he tried to stay calm. 

``I almost lost it a couple of times, and hallucinated once or twice,'' he said. ``Some marsh grass was poking me in the back of the neck, and I thought it was a crab eating me, and started yelling and banging an oar. And another time I heard a noise and was convinced a gator was in the marsh and going to eat me.'' 

Darkness, swift current and tight twists of the briny creek slowed the rescue. 

``We would shout to him to keep his spirits up and let him know we were coming, and he would say `The water's up to my chest,' or `The water's up to my neck,''' said fireman Craig Renshaw. 

In the last few minutes before his rescue, Beach stopped shouting and stretched his neck as far as it would go to keep his nostrils above water. When rescuers arrived, they were greeted by Goldie, who remained in the boat. 

``To be honest, about two curves before we got there, we had written him off,'' Renshaw said. ``We kept going, but once he stopped talking, we figured he was drowning.'' 

Had the rescuers arrived three or four minutes later, Beach would have been submerged. 

He was treated for hypothermia at a hospital Tuesday night and released, but he has barely been able to sleep since. 

``I keep thinking about it over and over in my head,'' Beach said. ``How close I came to dying is really going to stay with me a long time.'' 

Portland Coastguard co-ordinate rescue of boys in separate incidents

FEB 19, 1999, M2 Communications - Portland Coastguard have this afternoon been involved in the rescue of two boys in separate incidents at Lyme Regis and West Bay. 

In the first incident Portland Coastguard received a 999 call at 1336 hours from a member of the public reporting that a young boy was stuck in quick-sand on the beach between Charmouth and Lyme Regis. Coastguard immediately tasked the Coastguard Rescue Helicopter, Hotel Lima, to the scene along with the Lyme Regis and Allhallows Coastguard Rescue Teams, complete with mud rescue equipment. The boy was successfully dug out of the sand by the Coastguard Team and the winchman from the helicopter. The twelve year old boy was winched into the helicopter and taken to Dorchester Hospital. 

At 1611 hours Portland Coastguard received a call from Dorset Ambulance service who requested assistance with the medical evacuation of a boy who had fallen down a cliff at West Bay. The Coastguard Rescue Helicopter, Whisky Bravo was immediately tasked to the scene, along with the West Bay Coastguard Rescue Team. The ten year old boy was stabilised by paramedics on the scene and transferred by helicopter to hospital in Dorchester. 

Harry Leslie, Watch Manager, Portland Coastguard said: 

"It is fortunate that on this occasion the boys concerned were rescued and transferred to hospital quickly. Parents are reminded to supervise their children at all times, especially at potentially dangerous areas along the coast such as cliffs and areas of quick sand." 

Firefighters pull young girl out of the mud 

An Evansville firefighter got down and dirty in his fight against the weather Thursday as he rescued a girl stuck up to her knees in mud.
The girl, out of school because of the week's heavy snowfall, was discovered at 1 p.m. in the middle of a field south of the Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union, 4401 Theater Drive.

Firefighters on the scene walked out through the mess. They said she was cold and scared but not injured. However, they ran into the same problem she did when they tried to bring her out of the field.

"Wally Johnson pulled her out, but he couldn't walk with her because he was sinking into the mud," Capt. Tom Shadrick said. "So I got on my hands and knees, they put her on my back, and we crawled out of there."

The girl, who Shadrick said was about 10, warmed up in an ambulance after she made it out of the field. Her mother arrived 10 minutes later. He didn't know their names.

Shadrick didn't know why the girl was in the field, but he said it would have been easy to get stuck walking through the field.

"It was a lot sloppier than it looked. The field was partially snow-covered and partially solid. There was standing water out where she got stuck," he said.

Trucker saves boy from mud 
By Sarah Godcher
Eagle-Tribune Writer 

GEORGETOWN - Workers had already gone home for the day when a young boy wandering through Georgetown Sand and Gravel became stuck in a sand pit, buried up to his knees in muck.

The business was closed for the evening, the office locked. As the sun was going down, the boy called out for help, but no one was around.

That is until a sand and gravel supplier arrived at the property, heard his cries and rescued the child.

The boy was riding his bike at Georgetown Sand and Gravel when he wandered into a sediment pond sometime after 6 p.m., said the business's owner, who did not wish to give his name. The owner estimated the boy to be about 12 years old.

Sediment ponds are used to dump wet sand and clay. There was no water in the pond when the boy walked into it, only mud-like particles that had filtered out of the water, the owner said.

"It's very soft. It's not like solid ground in that it would not support his weight," he said.

The boy sank up to his knees in the sludge and could not free himself.

"He was never in any real danger, but he was very scared," the owner said.

Around 6:40 p.m., a sand and gravel supplier arrived at the North Street business. The supplier heard the boy yelling for help and found him in the sediment pond.

He pulled the boy from the muck and brought him to dry ground.

"Right around the same time, a second fellow came by on a mountain bike and saw what was going on. He went home and called 911," the owner said. "By the time the firefighters got there, he was out."

The public is not allowed on Georgetown Sand and Gravel's property. There are fences and signs indicating this, the owner said.

However, many people access the land through an abandoned railroad bed behind the property.

"It's owned by Mass. Electric and they need to get in there sometimes. We are not allowed to fence that off," the owner said.

Group will address `quicksand' ditches 

By Sarah R. Coffey
Staff Writer 

A task force will be formed to formulate ideas to solve the drainage ditch problem in the Fieldston area. 

The board of public works agreed with residents last night that the ditches, bisecting the streets of Fieldston from Ocean Street to Constellation Avenue, have outgrown their original design and are a hazard to both children and adults. 

"We understand you have a very real problem. We don't know how to solve it," Department of Public Works Chairman Jean Christensen said at Monday night's meeting. 

That statement reassured Nancy Prior, organizer of Fieldston residents concerned with the ditches, that at least both residents and the town agree there is a problem that needs to be solved. 

"We are a unified group and pretty resistant about this," she said. 

Prior said residents had called the department of public works for years separately to complain about the ditches, but did not get much satisfaction. Together, they have realized there is strength in numbers. About 30 residents attended Monday night's meeting. 

The ditches, installed over an hundred years ago, have grown to twice their original size, from 2 1/2 feet to five or more feet. The water in the ditches is covered with green algae and an oily, vile-smelling scum. Raw sewage and trash fill the ditches on a regular basis, residents say. 

Sediment at the bottom of the ditches is made of a quicksand like substance that could trap children and adults, residents say. 

Several residents at Monday night's department of public works meeting said their children have fallen the ditches while playing or looking for frogs, and adults have become trapped in the silt at the bottom while attempting to rescue them. 

Richard Giaquinto of 14 Mayflower Land said while he was trying to rescue a child who had fallen in the drainage ditch, he became trapped in the quicksand at the bottom of the ditch and had to have his wife pull him out. 

"I went straight down because of the silt" to mid-chest level, even thought the water was only two feet deep, he said. 

The ditches are also a breeding ground for mosquitoes, and with the discovery of recent encephalitis-carrying insects in Kingston, residents say they are now more concerned than ever that they or their children will be exposed to the deadly virus. 

The task force will be comprised of two or three concerned residents, two or three department of public works personnel, Town Engineer Walter Fender, and perhaps representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency and the state Department of Environmental Protection. There may be other interested parties involved as well, Prior said. 

Christensen pledged the department's support to help find a solution for the problem. While she said she was not sure there was any money in the department's budget to support the task force, she said she would try to find some funding somewhere. 

"I have some ideas on that," Christensen said. 

The engineering firm of Stenbeck and Taylor completed an engineering study of area three years ago, proposing a profile of a drainage pipe that might work. While the department of public works previously requested $500,000 to undertake the ditch replacement project, the request was denied during the town meeting process. 

Prior said the task force would start with the study when examining possible solutions. The task force's first meeting is scheduled for Sept. 25 at 7:30 p.m. at town hall. 

Quicksand spelled boys' doom

By Pam Monson, Journal correspondent 

BRAIDWOOD - It was a revelation which chilled reporters gathered to hear of the last hours of two Braidwood boys found dead Saturday morning.

But Will County authorities Monday detailed the terror and agony which must have gripped Everett Hodgins Jr., 14, and Justice Carr, 15, as they struggled in the relentless grip of quicksand they were powerless to escape.

In time, both boys perished of exposure and drowning.

Will County Sheriff Brendan Ward said it appeared that Everett first became mired in the sand and Justice became trapped by going to his aid. Sheriff's officers first on the scene Saturday also became mired in the sand and had to be helped out.

To make matters even more tragic, the deaths occurred within about 150 yards of Carr's home, in a pastoral sand field just across the road.

Sheriff's investigators and Coroner Patrick O'Neil held a press conference Monday to dispel concerns that the deaths may have been homicides.

Their assessment was that the boys weakened and died at the end of a lonely struggle to remain alive.

They were reported missing at 10 p.m. last Wednesday, just five hours after they had left to fish at Braidwood Lake. 

Their bodies were found at 8 a.m. Saturday in a sand excavation area by a civilian employee of the sheriff's department. The unnamed woman lives nearby, knew the boys and was helping in the search. She concentrated on an area she knew the boys or other youngsters frequented, crossing it as a shortcut to the lake.

The time of death is still under investigation, but O'Neil based his hypothermia determination on Thursday morning's weather conditions.

There was no evidence to suggest foul play.

Fatigue, shock and cold weather conditions, dipping to the low 30s with a 20-mile-per-hour wind Thursday morning likely caused hypothermia, the coroner said.

Hypothermia causes delirium, and a victim feels as if his body temperature is rising, he added. The boys probably lapsed into unconsciousness and were left susceptible to drowning, it was reported. Both had sand and water in their lungs. One of the boys had 40 to 60 pounds of sand in his pockets and pants.

Sheriff Ward said in a press release Monday that it appeared Hodgins had crossed the sandbar first and became stuck. Carr attempted to help Hodgins, becoming stuck himself.

Ward said the quicksand-like area was like hardening cement.

The area had to be cordoned off and water pumped from it so the bodies could be removed, Ward said.

As workers dug, the holes filled with the sludge again from the subsurface. ''There is a very good possibility, based on the volume of water it rained that night, that it may have subsided, so there could have been a lot of water there at the time.''

Although Ward admits wind and rain could have destroyed evidence, sheriff's department investigators found nothing that would indicate foul play was a factor.

The sheriff's department has been criticized for not searching thoroughly enough Wednesday night, although officers and Commonwealth Edison employees searched around the ComEd cooling lake an hour after the boys were reported missing. A severe storm moved through and high winds brought the search to a halt. The search resumed Thursday morning, with a state police helicopter involved along with many officers, firemen, emergency workers and volunteers.

A catalyst for some of the rumors generated in recent days is the fact that the boys' fishing gear has not been found. Ward speculated they may have stashed the poles somewhere with the intention of going back for them later.

Hodgins was a seventh grader at Reed-Custer Middle School and Carr was a freshman at Reed-Custer High School. The facilities were opened Saturday for grief counseling, and counseling was offered throughout the day Monday.

Students were allowed to leave school to attend the boys' funerals today

Casey Dahlke and Brian Bartels
Heroism Awards

Two Boy Scouts were recognized for their efforts in saving the life of a young boy earlier this summer. Casey Dahlke and Brian Bartels received the Heroism Award, which was approved by the National Court of Honor for the Boy Scouts of America. The awards were presented at the Cornhusker Council Executive Board Meeting on September 17, 1998.

Casey and Brian were assisting their neighborhood with a tree planting and litter clean up project in what is soon to be a neighborhood park. While performing their community service, they noticed 4-year-old Evan Root stuck in a drainage pond in the mud. When Casey and Brian arrived at the pond, it was apparent that Evan was sinking deeper each time he struggled to free himself. When the Scouts reached Evan, he was nearly chest deep in mud.

Casey and Brian formed a human chain, as they were taught through their troop, and stretched out to grab hold of Evan thus pulling him to safety. After explaining the episode to Evan's father, Randy Root, the Scouts proceeded to assist cleaning the mud from Evan.

The Heroism Award is awarded to youth members and adult leaders of the Boy Scouts of America. Recognition may be given where the evidence presented to the National Court of Honor, in accordance with prescribed regulations, shows that he or she saved or attempted to save a life under circumstances which indicate heroism and risk to self.

Casey and Brian are members of Boy Scout Troop 54, chartered to the Cathedral of the Risen Christ in Lincoln. Their Scoutmaster is Dick Johnson.

'Suction cup' of mud makes for scary time

You might call Cameron Cooper an old stick-in-the-mud. 

But he's only 11. 

Cameron, of Blue Springs, spent nearly two hours sunk up to his waist in sludge Friday, and it took six firefighters 45 minutes to free him. 

"I was up to my thighs," Cameron said Friday night. "Then I kept moving to try and get out, and I went down further. It was like a suction cup." 

Cameron said he and three buddies were running through Railroad Lake Park. In trying to beat one of his friends, Cameron took a shortcut over the mud mounds. 

After taking about three steps onto the muck, he started sinking. 

Roscoe Righter, parks director, said 15 loads of sludge were dredged out of the lake two months ago. "We may have to put some warning signs up or do something," he said. 

Firefighters stretched two ladders across the mud, said Robert Miller, assistant chief with the Central Jackson County Fire Protection District. Then they carried four pieces of plywood onto the mud so they could stand without sinking. They began digging around the shivering boy's legs. Six men twisted him free, Cameron said. 

An ambulance took Cameron to St. Mary's Medical Center. Once warmed up, he went home, uninjured, and with a great story to tell, he said. 

But, he said, "I don't think I ever want to play in the mud again." 

Father saves sons from quicksand

A FATHER saved his two sons from suffocating in quicksand by digging them out with his bare hands. Tony Jacques, 38, was fishing on a river bank when he heard a thud and saw the bottoms of a pair of wellingtons sticking out of the sand where Lewis, nine, and Christopher, eight, had been playing. 

Dashing along the bank, the former miner scooped out huge mounds of sand with his hands before dragging the boys clear. 

Their mouths, noses and ears were blocked and Mr Jacques poured cola 

over them to clear their airways. 

He had taken the boys fishing on the River Idle, near Bawtry, South Yorks, on Sunday afternoon but they became bored and went to investigate a sandhole. "I told them to stay away but they went back and started digging in the hole with their hands," said Mr Jacques, who runs a pub in nearby Newington with his wife Jane, 36. 

"I had my back to them but I could hear them shouting and laughing. Then I heard a thud like wet sand dropping followed by silence. I looked round and all I could see was Lewis's green wellies sticking out of the sand, thrashing about. 

"I ran over and Christopher's head popped out but he couldn't move and was screaming for Lewis. I started shovelling away looking for Lewis's head and after a few seconds I got down as far as his waist, grabbed his legs and yanked him out. Then I freed Christopher." 

Mr Jacques, who is 6ft 1in and weighs 17 stone, said: "I am a big bloke and I've got big hands so I suppose I was well equipped for the job." 


Two Windham boys will grow up with a healthy respect for mud after becoming trapped in a riverbed near Wassamski Springs Campground. 

Anthony and Nathan Charren, 5 and 8, were walking in woods behind the campground Thursday when they became stuck in the muddy riverbed of a low-running stream, Fire Chief Robert Lefebvre said. 

The more the boys struggled the deeper they sank, until finally one was up to his waist, the other up to his armpits, he said. 

A friend summoned help from parents, but they were unable to free the boys. Firefighters and rescue workers were called at 6 p.m. 

Emergency workers placed fallen logs alongside the boys, then took turns digging the mud out from around them by hand until they could be freed. 

Lefebvre said the boys were fine other than being covered with mud, and were fortunate that a stiff breeze kept mosquitoes from becoming too dense. 

He said it was the first time that he or the other rescue workers had heard of someone being trapped in a stream bed

Trapped boys 'lucky to be alive'

Picture: Bob HamiltonTWO Belfast youngsters were rescued from an horrific ordeal by the RUC when a harmless game turned into a life- threatening struggle on a buiding site. 

The west Belfast youngsters had a narrow escape when they became trapped up to their necks in mud as they were playing on a building site beside a children's playpark in Lenadoon on Thursday evening. 

After unsuccessful rescue attempts from neighbours and family members, the boys were eventually rescued by RUC officers, who used a riot shield to support their weight as they plucked the terrified youngsters from the mud as they struggled desperatelyto stop themselves from going under. 

Anthony Smyth, of Rinnalea Close, and Daniel Lowry, of Rinnalea Grove, both aged 11, had climbed over a high-wire fence to retrieve a football when they got into trouble in the mud. 

Four officers cut their way through the fence and managed to make it across to the boys, using a riot shield as support, but were unable to drag them free. 

During the rescue attempt a policeman, firemen and others also sank into the mud on the site where a community centre is being built. 

Minutes later Anthony's father arrived with a spade and with the help of firemen and the police dug the boys out. 

Daniel's mother, Marie, was still shaking yesterday morning after the event and said: "My son could have died. They are lucky to be alive. 

"Neither of us have slept all night," she said. 

Anthony's mum, Nora, said she heard the news from one of Anthony's friends. 

"He said 'come quick, Anthony is all covered in muck'," she said. 

"I thought it was a joke or he had just fallen in mud but I went round and saw all the commotion. My nerves completely went," she said. 

One of the policemen, Constable Dessie McClure, 35, said the boys were lucky to get out. 

"We were that close to a nightmare scenario. 

"It was as if they were in quicksand and if we had been any later we could have had an awful tragedy. 

"The nearer we got to the boys, the deeper the mud and we had to be very careful ourselves. 

"We all used our bare hands to dig them out." 


CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO. The more rescuers tried to dig Johnny Simmons out of the mud, the deeper he sank. But after three hours in chest-high mud Sunday, the southeast Missouri teen-ager was freed - cold, but with no serious injuries. 

Heavy rain on Saturday left the banks along Juden Creek quite muddy. But Simmons, 15, of Fruitland, Mo., and two friends decided to go fishing there anyway. With the temperature in the 60s, Simmons was wearing a T-shirt, blue jeans and cowboy boots. 

He started the day fishing near a bridge before moving to a second spot along the muddy bank. That's where he sank. 

Using logs and tree branches for leverage, Simmons spent about 90 minutes trying to dig himself out. When he realized he couldn't, he sent his friends to get help. 

By the time firefighters and other emergency workers arrived - eventually 20 rescuers helped in the effort - they faced several problems. 

First of all, Simmons was already 4 1/2 feet deep in the oozing mud. With nearly every attempt to dig Simmons out, "he got deeper," said Mark Hasheider, a battalion fire chief who was in command at the scene. "As we would dig, it would start to ooze back around him." 

Though the air was relatively warm, rescuers worried the wet mud could lead to hypothermia. Firefighter Ray Warner gave the shivering boy his coat, and Hasheider lent a hood. Meanwhile, paramedic Vicki Moldenhauer started a warm IV to keep his body temperature up. Paramedics also wrapped the youth in blankets. 

Simmons remained calm throughout the ordeal, rescuer Ivan LaGrand said. It was LaGrand's job to make sure Simmons remained alert and awake. 

Eventually, rescuers decided to try and remove Simmons by wedging plywood beneath him as leverage. After he was finally freed just before 8:30 p.m., a helicopter took Simmons to a hospital. 

He suffered no injuries, his stepmother, Renee Simmons, said. 

Chia gets mud bath instead of swimming class

Kuantan KUANTAN, Mon. - A 10-year-old pupil crossing a mud-filled drain became stuck up to his waist when the hardened surface layer caved in under his weight in Bandar Indera Mahkota about 2pm today. And as Chia Chong Hong screamed for help, his three school friends tried desperately to pull him out. They failed, and the Fire and Rescue Department was called in. Firemen and passers-by took 10 minutes to pull him to safety. 

Chia and the friends were supposed to wait for a van to take them to the Indera Mahkota Sports Complex for swimming lessons but they decided to walk instead. 

When they came to the drain, Chia thought the dried mud was hard enough for them to walk across. He did and the surface caved in, plunging him waist deep in mud. 

District Fire Department operations officer Aris Jili said seven firemen went to rescue Chia. 

Boy drowns in shingle `quicksand'

A 14-year-old Waimate boy drowned when he was sucked into shingle near the mouth of the Waihao River yesterday afternoon. Marek Lee Staats, of Waimate, and a 13-year-old relative were dropped off at the Waihao Box, a tear-shaped inlet at the river mouth used to control flooding, earlier in the day to go fishing. 

The pair fished at the river end of the box, but witnesses saw them walk down to the seaward end of the structure just before the accident, Acting Sergeant Craig Rowley said last night. 

The younger boy dropped a gumboot on to the gravel on the south side of the box about five to 10 metres from the river mouth. 

As the older boy went down on to the gravel in an attempt to retrieve it, he was trapped by moving shingle. He was taken under the shingle, which acts like quicksand, Mr Rowley said. 

The boy was later pulled under the box structure and drowned. Police have not yet released his name. 

A man walking in the area went to the aid of the boy when he was still in the gravel beside the box. He gave both boys a jacket to hold on to while he went to get help. The boy was up to his waist in gravel when he left the scene. 

Mr Rowley said it was unclear how far the man had to go to raise the alarm, or how long he was away. 

There was no sign of the older boy when he returned. 

Emergency services were called to the site from Waimate. Initially volunteer firemen used shovels to start removing gravel from on top of the box structure until two mechanical diggers got to the site. 

Gravel was also cleared from the side of the box. 

Mr Rowley said a chainsaw was used to cut a hole in the top of the box near where the boy had gone into the gravel. 

A ladder was then lowered to give rescuers access into the box. 

The boy was partially buried, and was being held by the gravel when he was found. The water in that area was only knee deep. 

The body was removed from the water shortly after 3pm. 

Mr Rowley was unaware of any previous drownings in that area but had been told of several "near miss" incidents where people had been caught in the moving shingle. - NZPA 

 Three Boys Find Themselves up to Armpits in Bay Mud

 Three boys who went exploring along the edge of San Francisco Bay 
in Richmond today found themselves wading through, and then getting 
stuck in, the big muddy. 

 Richmond Fire Department Batt. Chief Jim Fajardo said the boys were 
found up to their armpits in the cold mud near Hoffman Marsh Trail 
which fronts the bay at Point Isabel in Richmond. 

 A woman passer-by helped free the stuck boys shortly before 5 p.m.  may 
have been in over their armpits,'' Fajardo observed. 

 The El Cerrito mother of a 12-year-old boy and his 11-year-old 
brother was called to pick up her sons and their 11-year-old friend 
from El Cerrito. 

 None of the curious trio was hurt, but Fajardo said firefighters 
``hosed the boys down and wrapped them in warm blankets'' to protect 
them against hypothermia.