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Man saved from Prison well after 9 hour ordeal

Year 1884

Read by David Lloyd-Edwards – Supporter, Royal Humane Society

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November 15, 1884

Betts, Peter, Sjt., 5th Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment.

On the 15th November, 1884, a man named James Hogan was engaged in sinking a new well in the Kilkenny Prison; when at a depth of sixty-six feet below the surface he found himself sinking in the tenacious blue clay, sand and water, which was rapidly accumulating until it rose above his knees; he signalled to the workmen on the surface that he could not extricate himself.

Peter Betts, a serjeant in the 5th Battalion of the Royal Irish Regiment, descended the shaft with the manager (Mr. Purcell), and worked hard for four hours in removing the mud and the water (which at that time had risen above Hogan’s chest); he then became exhausted and had to ascend for a time. He again went down and worked for upwards of two hours; and, after another interval, he resumed work for a third time, finally succeeding in rescuing Hogan, who had been nine hours immersed in the sand and water.

Betts ran the same risks as Hogan did, and at one time was in imminent danger of sinking.

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