Two brothers were playing outside on Saturday in Gaffney, South Carolina, and when 14-year-old Jaylen Byers stood on top of a concrete pad, he didn’t know that it was a cover.
He also didn’t know that it would crumble under his weight — but it did, and he went careening 40 feet down a hidden well.
“I just fall,” Byers told WSPA-TV. “And then while I fall, I just remember being underwater.
“I was shocked. I was like scared. I was like, ‘What’s going on? How did I just fall down here?’ like, because I didn’t expect it to be a well. And I’m trying my best to swim back up. So I see a pipe, so I’m like hanging on it the whole time.”
Mom Amy Gordon was horrified when her other son came running to tell his parents what had happened. They called 911 right away, but the waiting was brutal.
“That, I think, is a parent’s biggest fear, you know — not being able to help their child when they need help,” Amy said. “He said, ‘Momma, my arms and my legs are getting tired.’ He was like, ‘I’m scared,’ and ‘Please just hurry.’”
Thankfully the Gaffney City Fire Department was on the way, and they were able to lift him out of the well less than 30 minutes after arriving.
“At 7:57pm on Saturday May 7, 2022, our department responded to the report of a person that had fallen into a well off of Pacolet Hwy in Gaffney,” the Gaffney City Fire Department posted on Facebook. “On arrival firefighters found a 14 year old male has fallen appropriately 40 feet into a well.
“The patient was treading water and able to hold on to pipes in the well to hold himself above water. Crews were able to make voice contact with the patient while crews began to set up for a technical rescue.
“A firefighter was lowered into the well and was able to extract the patient at 8:24pm without incident. The patient was transferred to EMS and subsequently transported to the hospital for what appeared to be non life threatening injuries.
“Our firefighters train often for these scenarios, that are not routine but they do happen. We’re proud of the professionalism showed by our crews.”
“They [firefighter] grabbed me,” Byers recalled, “and I was like holding onto him like it was a hug.
“I’m a little sore, but I’m just like grateful to be here, like living another day.”
While the teen spent the night at the hospital, he was able to leave the next day — the best Mother’s Day gift possible.
“This was My Grandson Jaylen Byars,” Amy McCombs commented on the fire department’s post. “Thank You To God Above & Thanks To Gaffney City Fire Department For Saving His Life…Y’all Please Keep Him & His Mom Amy Murray In Your Prayers.”
The teen was thankful for his rescuers as well after his terrifying ordeal.
“They helped me a lot,” he said. “I’m grateful for that.”