SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) – The family of an East County man who fell 35 feet down a well on Sunday was by his bedside Monday night, as he remains in critical condition.
For the first time, Jerry Fowler's father, Thell Fowler, is speaking to News8 about the accident that he witnessed.
"What could I have done to prevent it?" he said. "My kids keep telling me it's not my fault, but it is."
The two were replacing a pipe on Thell's Potrero property. Both were standing on two by fours above a cement platform when the accident happened. Initially, Thell thought the board had snapped, but it was actually the entire slab.
"It went down and I was able to grab a hold of the side to keep from going down. My son Jerry went all the way to the bottom."
Thell called 911, as family members alerted Jerry's wife, who was inside their nearby home. Thell recalls that his daughter-in-law didn't believe it at first, until she heard her injured husband moaning from the depths of the well.
Once fire crews and paramedics arrived, the operation to rescue Jerry took two hours.
Jessica Fowler says her husband stopped breathing in the helicopter on his way to the hospital.
Monday nigh he was in a coma listed in critical condition.
"He has facial fractures, a fracture in his back. Injury to his spinal chord," she said.
Jessica says the injuries are so bad, she won't allow her 12-year-old son to see his step-dad in that kind of condition.
"He doesn't look like the same person."
As for his prognosis, relatives say it's touch and go, adding that internal bleeding has caused Jerry to lose a lot of blood.
They're asking people to donate blood, and whatever else they can to help.