46-year-old Pang Zhendong had a close brush with death when he fell into a well last week that was over 20 metres deep. Over the next few days, he yelled for help at the top of his lungs but help did not arrive till the fifth day. “The well was very out of the way, and there was a lot of noise from the traffic,” said the Shenyang-based migrant worker from Jilin. “I thought of giving up. I’m just so fortunate that I’m still alive.”
Pang is now under observation in hospital and doctors say he is no longer in critical condition. Still in a daze, he says he no longer remembers when exactly he fell into the well. “All I remember was I was pretty happy that day because there was no work. I tried looking for a colleague but couldn’t find him because his mobile phone was off,” he added. “So I went to buy myself some drinks at a corner shop, and just as I was getting buzzed and decided I would take a bus home, I fell into the well.”
Pang says the insides of the well were smooth and there was nothing for him to hold on to. Fortunately there was a tree branch on which he was able to rest his knee while using his arms and head to prop himself up. For most of the time, his feet was in the water, and he was not able to rest for very long at night without falling into the water and waking up again.
Pang yelled for help day and night until his voice was hoarse. Rescuers heard him shouting in the interim but were unable to pinpoint his exact location. On Thursday, help finally came when a cleaner heard Pang’s voice. Rescuers pulled Pang out of the well and rushed him to the hospital, where he was met by his long-time partner, relieved that they were reunited on Yuanxiao festival.
Rescuers at the local fire department say that it was a huge challenge to pull Pang out of the well. By the time he was found at 3pm in the afternoon on Thursday, he was already very weak and barely able to move, having not had anything to eat for a few days. With a diameter of just 50 centimetres, the well was too narrow for a rescuer to go down, so the only way was to lower a rope into the well and to pull him up.
Pang’s partner, Lu Jinyan arrives at the hospital at 7.30pm in the evening and bursts into tears upon seeing him. “What happened to you?” she asked. “It’s alright, I’m fine. I just had a bit to drink,” Pang replies.
“I’ve been searching for you high and low, at your work place, at your friends. I tried calling, I tried sending text messages, and I even went to the police station to file a missing persons report.”
“He left early on Saturday,” Lu tells reporters. “I thought he had gone back to work overtime, and I had no idea he had gone to look for friends. So when he failed to return that night, I began my search.”
Pang’s condition has stabilised under observation. He is now able to take small sips of water and small amounts of food each time.
Pang munches on a bun, leaving the rest of his meal untouched.
He remains in a state of shock as he recovers from the traumatic episode.
Lu helps Pang massage his feet. Sensation is slowly returning to his limbs.
Pang sustained minor injuries on his calves.
These cuts on his neck were caused by the tree branches in the well.