It took a few seconds for a 4-year-old boy to fall into a well in Texas on Tuesday, and at least six hours to get him back out again. The boy had slipped into the 44-foot water well while walking with his parents at a ranch property in Garceno around 4:40pm, per CNN. Luckily, he fell only 8 or 9 feet, becoming lodged in the narrow opening, described as 8 to 10 inches wide. Multiple agencies and departments responded to the scene, where the boy finally emerged around 2am Wednesday, per KVEO. That suggests the rescue took some nine hours. However, the city of Mission, Texas, which shared video of the rescue, said it had taken "six long hours." "It's a Christmas miracle!" it said.
The boy was conscious and talking when finally rescued. The Starr County Sheriff's Office reports he was listed in stable condition Wednesday at a hospital in Edinburg, where he was to undergo X-rays. Mission's assistant fire chief, Robert Alvarez, says the efforts—which involved rescuers roping the boy's hands to keep him from falling deeper, then digging a second hole adjacent to the well, per KRGV—were only successful because everybody pitched in. He noted a sheriff's officer had even grabbed a shovel, per KVEO. Moving soil wasn't exactly easy. "Any wrong strike of a shovel could cause more soil to fall into the hole where the victim was," Alvarez says. Pneumatic tools were ultimately needed in places where the soil turned to rock. (Read more rescue stories.)