NORTH BABYLON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Long Island senior citizen said he was napping and reading on Wednesday evening when he realized he hadn’t seen his wife for more than two hours.
Then he heard screams, and made a grim discovery.READ MORE: More Omicron Cases Identified In New York; Total Rises To At Least 8
Mike Biancardi relived the near disaster when his bucolic North Babylon backyard nearly swallowed his 77-year-old wife.
“As I’m walking toward the back, I hear her yell, ‘Mike! Mike! I’m in the hole!'” the 83-year-old told CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan on Thursday.
He said he peered over the edge of the collapsed cesspool and there she was, his wife of 30 years, Joan Sparacino, hanging on to the edges below for dear life, with sludge up to her chest.
“She was holding on. I called 911 and I said, ‘I need the fire department,’ and they were here immediately,” Biancardi said.
Amid the couple’s backyard pond with fish and a small refuge for turtles, dozens of rescuers were able to finally free Joan, who was stuck for nearly three hours.
“I just seen her head and her shoulders holding onto the walls. That was it. She said she went down. Her head was covered with everything,” Biancardi said.READ MORE: Slain Columbia Grad Student Davide Giri Remembered As 'The Nicest And Brightest Person'
Falling in wastewater can create severe health consequences, including bacteria, viruses and parasites.
“I was like in shock,” Biancardi said.
Her family said Sparacino has been admitted to the hospital for surgery for a broken leg and on two recent knee replacements. She suffered a black eye when a brick fell on the side of her head when she was in the cesspool.
“I can’t believe everyone who came around. Neighbors drove me to the hospital,” Biancardi said.
He said he believes prayers were answered.
“She’s so well loved. She’s just someone special,” Biancardi said.
Biancardi said he and his wife are immensely grateful to first responders and neighbors, following the freak accident they will never forget.MORE NEWS: 11-Year-Old Robbed At Knifepoint By Stranger In Queens School Bathroom
The fire department said if the cesspool hadn’t been cleaned two months ago, Sparacino could have drowned.