Horse Falls Into Sewer Manhole

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The Fort Dodge Messenger: Dec. 28, 1905

Horse Falls Into Sewer Manhole

Peculiar Accident in Alley South of Central Avenue This Afternoon.

Hoisted Out With Derrick

Lid of Manhole Caught on Shoes of Animal’s Front Feet and Turned Over – Horse Stepped in With Rear Feet and Sank Into Hold.

One of the most peculiar accidents to happen in Fort Dodge for several years occurred int he alley at the rear of the Messenger building about eleven o’clock this forenoon when a horse owned by the Cardiff Gypsum Company, sank into a sewer manhole and was removed only after an hour of strenuous work on the part of a crowd of about fifty men and boys.

Hind Feet Slipped in.

The wagon to which the animal was hitched was loaded with empty stucco sacks and was being driven up the alley when the accident occurred. The front feet of the horse caught in the grating which covered the manhole and turned the lid over. In walking forward the animal stepped into the open hole with its hind feet and instantly sank up to its hops. The remaining horse of the team, feeling the weight of its mate pulling it back as it slipped into the hole backed slowly back, allowing the imprisoned beast to slide further down. By the time that the driver had succeeded in unhitching the imprisoned animal the other had slid clear down into the hole until only its front feet and the tip of its nose was visible.

Big Crowd Gathered.

A crowd gathered at once and many suggestions were offered for removing the animal from the narrow hole in which it was imprisoned. It was finally decided that the only way to extricate it was to hoist it up with a derrick. A heavy rope and a pulley were procured, and while the crowd swelled first to a couple of dozen and then to fifty curious people an improvised derrick was made by fastening the rope and tackle to a couple of telegraph poles. The fore feet of the animal were tied together to keep it from struggling and the rope was fastened about them. A score of willing hands caught hold and with a couple of heaves it was raised half way out of the narrow hole. It was then seen that the tackle had been placed too low for it to be possible to lift the horse entirely clear and with half of its body dangling in the hole operations were suspended and another consultation held. The rope was loosened and the horse allowed to drop partly back into three or four feet of muddy water that partly filled the hole. The rope was attached lower down this time; the hoisting commenced again and grunting and groaning the animal was lifted clear from its prison, amid shouts of success from the crowd.

It was completely exhausted when removed and lay as if dead for a few minutes. Beyond a few scratches where it had scraped against the sides of its narrow prison it was uninjured and in a short time was little the worse for its experience. The animal was a very valuable one and its owners are congratulating themselves on the lucky end of the incident.


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