by: Liz Artz Updated:
MILNER, Ga. - A Lamar County family is keeping their 2-year-old son inside until a very dangerous situation is fixed in their back yard.
Carter Altman fell 10 feet into an old well around 11:30 a.m. Thursday.
The parents told Channel 2's Liz Artz that Carter was playing in the back yard when he ran across the well and it caved in.
They said they called 911 and rescue crews worked for 30 minutes to coax the boy out of the well, which was 60 feet deep.
Carter's great uncle said the boy clung to tree roots to support himself in the well.
Rescuers finally tied a rope around the child's favorite stuffed toy, hoisted it down the hole and when Carter grabbed for the toy, crews got the rope around his arm and pulled him to safety.
Carter's mom, Kelli Altman, said she was scared she was going to lose him. She said the boy wouldn't let go of the roots to grab a ladder.
"He grabbed onto Barney. They were able to put a rope around his hand and pull him out. Barney saved the day," Altman said.
Carter was taken to Spalding Regional Hospital in Griffin where he was checked out and sent home.
Experts said the hand-dug well appeared to be about 50 years old.
Well-drilling expert Buzzy Morgan said it appeared someone had tried to fill the well with an old mattress. He thinks all the rain over the past few weeks softened the dirt.
"I'm not going to sign off on it until concrete is put on to it," Morgan said.
The family hired a crew to excavate the well which dug 15 feet under the well and filled it with 20 tons of dirt Thursday evening.
Crews told Channel 2 Action News the ground is now safe for anyone to walk on.
Altman said she is thankful her only child is OK.
"Just go home and hug your child please," Altman said.