After a 3-year-old boy fell down a 50-foot pipe, emergency responders scrambled to save him before he suffocated. When no one was small enough to fit down the shaft, a teen boy bravely volunteered to squeeze down the narrow shaft.
Three-year-old Gabriel Ruiu horrified his Romanian family when he fell into a well in his family’s yard. While the boy miraculously survived the 50-foot fall, he was stuck at the bottom of the narrow shaft with no way out. As time went on, the child faced hypothermia, oxygen deprivation, and shock. Emergency responders in Segarcea tried everything to save Gabriel.
They repeatedly lowered a rope down to the boy and excavated the ground in an effort to free him, fearing that cutting the pipe would produce lethal vibrations. Every attempt failed. After 11 hours, they thought all hope was lost. With time running out, Gabriel’s parents were inconsolable, expecting the worst. Just then, a skinny seventh-grader stepped out of the crowd and made a stunning suggestion.
While walking home from school, 14-year-old Cristian Becheanu noticed the commotion. When locals filled him in on the situation, he unhesitatingly volunteered to go down into the well and retrieve the child. The teen purposed that he was the only person around who was just slim enough and strong enough to squeeze through the narrow shaft and pull the toddler out, according to CVL Press.
“I heard what happened and came from there with a friend to have a look,” Cristian said. “They were talking about someone having to enter the well and I said that I have the courage to enter. At first they didn’t let me.”
With no other option in sight, firefighters fitted Cristian’s chest with a harness and fastened a rope around his ankles. The men then took a few seconds to go over the plan as well as to mentally prepare Cristian for the terrifying scenario he was about to face. Just barely small enough to squeeze in, he could just as easily become lodged in the well, especially on his way back out.
“Well, there were about three who also said that they were willing to go after Gabi. But when they looked down into the well, they changed their minds. He was the only one left,” said vice mayor Nicolae Tutunaru.
Knowing this could be their last chance to bring Gabriel out alive, firefighters lowered Cristian head-first into the pipe with his arms outstretched ahead of him. Shortly after he arrived at the bottom, he signaled for the emergency responders to pull him back up. He was swiftly dragged out of the well, his hands firmly clutching Gabriel’s arms.
The scene was chaotic and emotional as the crowd erupted over the harrowing rescue. Gabriel’s father immediately snatched the terrified toddler and rushed him up the side of the pit where his distressed mother was anxiously waiting. The child was transported to the hospital and monitored for hypoxia and cervical spinal injuries from the fall. Miraculously, he would make a full recovery.
Cristian was surrounded by reporters hoping to get the details of the incredible rescue. He explained that as soon as he had a hold of the toddler, he shook his feet twice as the signal for firefighters to pull him up.
“Were you afraid that maybe you’ll drop him?” a reporter asked.
“No, no I wasn’t afraid because I had a good grip on him,” Cristian replied.
“Well, were you afraid a little bit at the beginning when you entered?” another interviewer asked.
“The first time just now, yes, but then I wasn’t afraid anymore,” the boy said.
Cristian told reporters that the rescue has made him want to become a firefighter one day so that he can help more people. Despite his small stature, he has proven himself to be not only capable of such a feat but more courageous than all the other volunteers who looked down that well and changed their minds.