San Clemente, CA (UPI) -- Local surfer Henry Ford rescued a two-year-old girl who spent 27 hours trapped in a deep well. The child, Erin Hanson Carlos Amezcua, great-great-great-great-granddaughter of the City's founder, Ole Hanson (1874-1940), was playing outside her house when she fell more than 40 feet down a man-made well in San Clemente, California.
Henry Ford, a retired lifeguard, excavated earth parallel to the well in order to tunnel through to the child, who had been heard crying earlier in the day. Erin's mother was kept away from the well because of fears that she would become emotional and upset the child, but Ford was constantly talking to Erin to keep her conscious, authorities said.
Hundreds of locals had gathered to watch the rescue operation, with many of them performing prayers for the girl's safety and brewing coffee for Ford, who refused to rest or sleep during the 27 hours ordeal. Local TV showed live pictures of crowds celebrating at the scene, and later at a spontaneous parade on Pico Avenue.
Oxygen was pumped to the young girl during the rescue operation and Henry Ford sent milk and Ho-hos, Erin's favorite treat, down to the child. The rescue effort had to proceed slowly amid fears that the excavation work could cause the well to collapse.
Children in Orange County frequently fall down wells that have been left carelessly uncovered. Earlier this year, a young boy was rescued from a well in nearby San Juan Capistrano.
A picture of Henry Ford surfing a number of years ago is included with this report. Mr. Ford is notoriously shy, and like the classic hero, he doesn't hang around the rescue scene looking for gratitude. Regrettably, calls to his phone were not returned in time to include his thoughts on this rescue or to provide a recent photo.