77-year-old North Babylon woman trapped in cesspool for 2 hours

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NORTH BABYLON -

A 77-year-old woman is recovering after falling and getting stuck in a cesspool in her North Babylon backyard, officials say.

Police say Joan Sparacino stepped on a cesspool cover in her backyard on Weeks Road around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, and it caved in.

She then fell 4 to 6 feet into the ground, becoming trapped for two hours until her husband heard her screaming. Sparacino was in her yard feeding her tortoises at the time of the incident.

Rescuers from the North Babylon Fire Department, as well as police, worked for an hour to get her out safe. Once they used a harness to pull Sparacino out, they washed her off and took her to the hospital.

Her husband, Mike, says he is so thankful for the rescuers.

"She got herself up and was just hanging on the sides, keeping her head above water," he says.

Mike says they just recently had the cesspool treated, so the water remained below her waist. He says that that could be the reason why his wife was able to survive.

Joan Sparacino was taken to the hospital in stable condition with injuries that were not considered life-threatening. Her husband says she'll be there for a few days as she has surgery on a broken leg.

The backyard has been officially declared unsafe by the fire marshal and the building inspector.

Babylon town's code enforcement department is investigating the situation.

Joan and Mike Scaracino

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