San Marino, CA Child Falls Into Abandoned Well, Apr 1949
Hush Greets News.
News of Kathy's death was received with hushed frustration by sympathizers who had held a glimmer of hope to the last.
The child's body had been reached in the well pipe at 6:03 p.m. by rescuers who cut through the corroded metal with pneumatic saws.
This was 49 hours and 18 minutes after she dropped into the earth while frolicking in the plowed field.
Her body was grotesquely wedged into a bend in the pipe, her legs jammed hard against the side of the 14-inch-wide well.
Dr. Hanson and Dr. Robert McCullock, the Fiscus family physician, remained after the announcement of her death to assist in extricating the body.
Last Sound Friday
Kathy's last sound came about 6:30 p.m. Friday. She had answered through sobs the questions of her mother shouting frantically down the well.
Then a rope was dropped. Apparently she held to it while it was pulled up few feet. But her tiny hands lost their grip on the hemp and she fell back against the jagged sides of her dark tomb.
She cried for a while then, shortly. And that was all.
From the physician's analysis this presumably was the time of her death.
From all of the Southland men came with equipment to free Kathy from her cylindrical coffin. The plight of the little blond girl captured the sympathy of the world.
Gargantuan Effort Made.
A gargantuan effort to pull her free---and alive---from the earth, grew to epic proportions. Men and machines worked without rest, stubbornly determined to life Kathy into the sunshine again.
Two days of heroism followed. Men risked their lives for the Kathy who lay dead 94 feet beneath them, but who even in the death that was her secret inspired the world to prayer.
And then in a night seared by floodlights came the tragic knowledge that the laughter of Kathy Fiscus was still forever.
News Delayed for Over Two Hours
Official word of the child's death was delayed more than two hours by volunteer supervisors who insisted on prolonged secrecy. Her body was reached by O. A. Kelly and H. E. (Whitey) Blickensderfer.
Raymond Hill, engineer nominally in charge of the rescue operations, first announced that Kathy had been found at 6:30 p.m. He refused to say at first whether the child, whose fate held the world in suspense, was alive or dead.
After repeated conferences at the mouth of the rescue shaft, a white canvaslike bag was lowered into the hole. The bag later was pulled up empty.
Kelly remained at the bottom of the shaft, presumably to attach rescue implements to the child. She was found with her legs hunched into a cramped position.
Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, CA 11 Apr 1949