Woman Killed Instantly When Kitchen Floor Falls Through

freak accident

One minute she was carrying boxes out and the next she was gone, along with part of the kitchen floor. 83-year-old Dorothy Downey had been helping her daughter move out of an old house in Salem, South Carolina, when tragedy struck without the slightest hint of warning. It took several hours for emergency crews to retrieve her remains from the bottom of a 48-foot well, which nobody knew was there.

Floor collapse instantly fatal

Rotting boards in the kitchen floor of a century old house in South Carolina are to blame for the tragedy. That wouldn’t be such a big deal if not for the hidden well beneath them.

According to a statement issued by Oconee County Coroner Karl Addis, “it took rescuers nearly four hours Sunday afternoon to pull Dorothy Downey’s lifeless body out of the 48-foot-deep hole.

On November 26, Ms. Downey was “helping her daughter pack up and move from the house on Park Avenue in Salem, which according to property records was built in 1920.

Without suspecting any danger, she “made her way across the kitchen floor around 2 p.m.” That’s when “part of it gave way and collapsed beneath her feet.

The victim’s daughter instantly “tried to look for her in the crawlspace under the house but couldn’t find her.” Anywhere else in the house a floor collapse wouldn’t lead to a fall further than a couple feet.

When fire and rescue arrived, they were “able to located the woman and bring her back to the surface before 6 p.m.


Blunt force injuries

The coroner confirmed that Ms. Downey perished upon impact and his official determination noted “she died from blunt force injuries caused by the 4-story fall.

The owner was horrified, having no idea the well shaft had been hidden beneath the floor.

It wasn’t hard for Dr. Addis to rule the death an accident. He also noted for the record that he’s “never seen anything like this in his 31 years as coroner.

Separate reports reveal that the owner knew the floor was weak in the kitchen but nobody in the family knew that there was a well beneath. It could have collapsed on her at any time. Another day or two later the place would have been vacant.

While houses built that long ago are typically unsound, especially in that climate, having an abandoned well shaft below the kitchen floor is something which the owners should be made aware of.

Accidents don’t get much freakier than this and it’s another example of when you’re number’s up, it’s up.

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