Woman rescued after falling into septic tank, lying in raw sewage for days, officials say

Officials said they rescued an Oregon woman who fell into a septic tank and was stuck lying in raw sewage for multiple days. 

Firefighters in Estacada, Oregon, on Tuesday rescued the unidentified woman who they found lying in raw sewage with just her face exposed in a septic tank outside her rural home where she lives alone, officials told KATU-TV

"It can be definitely a scary situation, especially sitting at the bottom of a septic tank and you don't know that anybody's coming to get you," Nick Wettlaufer, an engineer and paramedic, told the station. 

Richard Anderson, a division chief for Estacada Rural Fire District No. 69, told KATU that "nobody would've heard her up there," and that the next closest house to hers was a couple of thousand feet away.  

But on Tuesday afternoon, the woman's daughter found her mother inside the septic tank after having not heard from her since Friday, according to Anderson. The division chief's fire district respond to the scene. 

"She got concerned and went up to check on her ... and found her inside of the septic tank," Anderson told the station. "It looks like there was work being done on the septic tank. There was a tractor in the area and a hole had been dug exposing the tank. And then she had fallen through about a 2-foot by 2-foot hole in kind of the rusted metal top of the tank."

Anderson said firefighters lowered down the handle of one of their tools to save the woman. 

"She was able to grab ahold of that, sit up slightly and they were able to get some other poles, a strap around her back and under her arms and then hoist her up out with that," he said. "She was somewhat laying down with her face above the water level. Once we got her out, she was pretty weak so we just got her straight onto the cot and laid her own."

The Estacada Rural Fire District No. 69 posted pictures of the rescue on Facebook, saying their crews responded to a "confined space rescue call." 

"Once extricated, the patient was transported to the hospital by Lifeflight (a helicopter)," the post said. 

The woman's condition is unknown, but Anderson told KATU that she didn't have any visible injuries. She was taken to a hospital in Portland, the station reported. 

This story was reported from Los Angeles.