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Trieva McBeth Describes Terrifying Ordeal After Fall Into Abandoned Well

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TRIEVA MCBETH
Trieva McBeth pictured with her dog Loki. | CP/HO-Trieva McBeth
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REDWATER, Alta. — An Alberta woman says she has been sore and sleep deprived since she spent hours clinging to the sides of an abandoned well near Edmonton earlier this week.

Trieva McBeth plunged more than two metres into the grass-covered hole while she was walking her dog near Redwater, Alta., on Monday.

Days later, her voice remains hoarse from screaming for help. The exertion of hoisting herself out of the well has made her body into "one big charley horse,'' her muscles hurting so badly that she can barely lift anything.

"I close my eyes and I see the cement wall in front of my face again..."

And she hasn't been able to sleep.

"I close my eyes and I see the cement wall in front of my face again or I see the little patch of sky that I was able to see from down there.''

McBeth said she could see her four-year-old bull terrier Loki looking into the well and hear him whining.

"I could tell he was concerned. But I had to actually get mad at him and yell at him to go away because I was worried that he was going to get too close to the edge and fall in there with me.''

There was murky knee-deep water at the bottom and McBeth said she couldn't bear the idea of Loki drowning in it.

Storm clouds were forming

The 37-year-old alternated between yelling for help and trying to climb out of the well, all while storm clouds were forming overhead.

"If I wasn't doing one of those two things, that's when I started thinking about everyone and not making it out of there and that's the only time I came close to losing my cool,'' she said.

"So I just tried to either be climbing or screaming.''

Her phone was in her car. She had her car fob in her pocket, but efforts to set off the alarm were unsuccessful.

McBeth eventually fashioned a foothold out of a nylon rope that was attached to a chunk of cement and, after a few attempts, managed to get herself out.

"Physically there's not going to be lasting marks or anything, but emotionally it's a different story I think."

She dropped Loki at home and went straight to the hospital, where she got a tetanus shot, antibiotics and a foot X-ray. Her foot isn't broken, but it's swollen and she's been having to get around on crutches. Her elbows and knees are covered in scrapes and bruises.

"Physically there's not going to be lasting marks or anything, but emotionally it's a different story I think,'' said McBeth, who has made an appointment with a therapist.

The land where the well is belongs to Fort Hills Energy LP, a partnership led by energy giant Suncor Energy (TSX:SU). The companies at one time planned to build an oilsands upgrader on the rural site, which had been used for farming before that.

The well was to have been covered by Thursday afternoon.

Suncor investigating

Suncor spokeswoman Nicole Fisher said the company is investigating.

"We understand that this would have been a scary event. We have reached out to the individual.''

In the meantime, McBeth is resting up.

She's been looking for work in oil and gas for about a year, but won't be able to start any new job until she recovers.

Loki is recovering from the ordeal, too.

"He was affected for sure,'' said McBeth. "He won't leave my side now.''

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