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Stay Out! Stay Alive!
Stay Out! Stay Alive!
Near Misses
Incidents that could have resulted in a fatality, but did not.


07/17/2006
A 13-year-old Marion County, Fla., boy tumbled down the side of a 55-foot-deep quarry, but was able to grab onto a tree growing out of the side of the pit and then hang on for dear life. Marion County Fire-Rescue Capt. Dennis Cronmiller rappelled down the side and carried Robert Whigham back to the road above, where he was treated for minor scratches and bruises and released to his parents.

At about 2:30 p.m., Robert, his 10-year-old brother, 7-year-old sister and friends were balancing atop a 5- to 6-foot-high berm at the edge of the quarry. They were looking for rocks when they thought they spotted an arrowhead. Robert was trying to inch down the embankment to retrieve it when he fell over. He was able to grab the tree and straddled it, as his brother called 911 on a cell phone and his sister ran to their home about three blocks away for help.

 13-year-old Marion County, Fla., boy tumbled down the side of a 55-foot-deep quarry

The rock quarry is mostly surrounded by trees. Lime green water fills the bottom. No signs of aquatic life could been seen there Monday, but at least two neighbors said two alligators live there to feed off fish. Fire-Rescue arrived quickly, and rescuers threw a rope over the edge. Robert put it under his arms to keep himself stabilized.

Rescuers grabbed more rope and pulleys, attaching one end to a fire engine. At the other end, Cronmiller rappelled down the side and grabbed Robert. After about an hour of straddling the tree, Robert was on solid ground.

Robert said a cousin fell in the rock quarry in the same spot last week but was able to climb back out.

Angela Grimes said she will try to talk with the quarry's owners to see whether they would erect a barrier between the quarry and the road.

"Eventually, somebody's going to really get hurt," she said. (Source: Ocala Star-Banner)