Father Recalls Son's Fall Down 35-Foot Well

Jerry Fowler, 43, remains in critical condition after falling 35 feet down a well Sunday

By Chris Chan and Monica Garske
|  Saturday, Mar 16, 2013  |  Updated 12:03 PM PDT
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Jerry Fowler talks to NBC 7 reporter Chris Chan about what happened when his father fell down a 35-foot well.

Jerry Fowler talks to NBC 7 reporter Chris Chan about what happened when his father fell down a 35-foot well.

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As a San Diego-area man continues to recover from critical injuries sustained during a fall down a 35-foot well, the victim’s father is speaking out about the frightening incident that nearly took his son’s life.

On Sunday, 43-year-old Jerry Fowler was trying to repair pipes inside a well at his home in Potrero, in rural San Diego County. He and his father were standing on top of a 4-inch cement cover over the well when the concrete gave out, causing Fowler to fall straight down the 35-foot hole.

The fall knocked Fowler unconscious, and he had to be rescued from the well by fire crews.

The rescue took more than two hours. At one point, crews had to drop a pump down into the well for fear the ground water would rise and possibly drown Fowler.

Once he was hoisted out of the well, Fowler was immediately hospitalized with head injuries, facial wounds and numerous broken bones.

On Tuesday, Fowler’s wife, Jessica Fowler, told NBC 7 San Diego her husband was not doing well. At that point, he was suffering from brain swelling and remained unconscious with fractures in his face and back. Fowler also needed a second surgery Monday to stop bleeding in his stomach.

Fowler had been working on the well alongside his father, Thell Fowler, when the accident happened.

Thell spoke with NBC 7 Friday about the frightening moments when his son fell into the cold, dark well. Somehow, Thell was able to keep himself from falling down with him.

[We] had no indication [the concrete] was going or nothing. I saw him going down and then I noticed I had a hold of the side of the well. That kept me from going down,” explained Thell.

Thell said he immediately called 911 to get help for his son.

He’s grateful that emergency crews were able to pull him out alive, but said his son is still facing many challenges on his road to recovery.

As of Friday evening, Fowler remains in a medically-induced coma at Sharp Hospital, suffering from a brain injury.

And, though Fowler fell 35 feet and landed on his back, Thell said the family still doesn’t know the full extent of his injuries.

“They’re not moving him because they know he’s got back problems. They’re unable to move him to do an MRI,” Thell added.

Despite the Fowler’s many injuries and long recovery ahead, Thell said his son looks good and his body remains warm.

But, he admits that right now, the progress is day to day. He and his family are hoping for the best.

“I know my mother lost my brother and I know what it’s like for a parent when you think you’re going to lose a child,” he said.

Meanwhile, Thell said the family has been receiving donations and remain in need of more support.
Thell said Fowler works as a truck driver but has no medical insurance.

The family is accepting donations through the Potrero Community Center foundation at P.O. Box 116, Potrero, Calif., 91963. The foundation helps families in need.

Those who wish to donate can also make a blood donation in Fowler’s name as well.

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