83-Year-Old Woman Dies After Falling Through Rotting Floor Into Well Shaft

The 83-year-old woman was helping her daughter pack and move from the Salem, South Carolina home that was built in 1920. The daughter wasn't aware the well was there.

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Terrible news coming out of Salem, North Carolina.

On Sunday, Dorothy Louise Downey, 83, died after falling through rotting floorboards and a well shaft in a home that her daughter, the homeowner, didn't know was there. According to WSPA 7News, Downey was helping her daughter move when she stepped into a "weakened" area of the kitchen floor around 2 p.m. The home was built in 1920, and tragically, the woman collapsed through the floor before she went down a 48-foot well.

According to a police report, Downey's daughter searched for her beneath a crawl space under the home but couldn't find her. At the time, Downey was assisting her daughter in relocating from the Salem residence. Four hours later, around 5:45 p.m. Downey's body was recovered from the well by the Salem Fire Department and Oconee Emergency Services, who discovered that she had passed away, and her death was ruled accidental by the Oconee County Coroner’s Office.

Safety precautions and multiple inspections are crucial when purchasing an older home, as in this case, the home was a little over a century old. According to the home safety website Safewise, homes can develop cracks and unevenness in the foundation slab, as cracked tile and uneven floors are common signs of much-needed repairs.

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