2-year-old rescued after being trapped under rock pile

PORTSMOUTH, NH — Police and Fire officials in Portsmouth, New Hampshire saved a little boy's life on Friday afternoon after he became trapped under a pile of rocks.

Authorities responded to 325 Little Harbor Road after a call came in at around 5:40 p.m. for reports of a two-year-old trapped under a rock pile.

At the scene, officials found the boy pinned between large slabs of stone.

Preliminary investigation showed the boy had been playing atop one of the stone slabs with his grandfather when the slab he was standing on dislodged, causing the boy to fall forward and become trapped by the slab, which came to rest on his head.

“Essentially, this child was lying between a slab of granite with another on top of him and the disruption any more of that pile could cause catastrophic results," said Portsmouth PD Sergeant Kuffer Kaltenborn.

The stone slabs, which are being stored in the yard, are intended to make up the foundation of a seawall that's currently under construction. Each stone slab is estimated to weigh several hundreds of pounds.

Luckily, the responding officer turned out to have previous experience as a professional stone mason who specialized in historical foundation repair.

Portsmouth Police Officer T.J. Potter's experience helped him accurately assess the damage the child was in and properly remove the slabs from atop the child.

"[It was] a five man stone or a five man block which indicated that you would need 4-5 people to life it and set it on a wall, and we have done stones like that and built with stones like that so I knew we could lift it by hand," said Potter. "I think that was the main concern – can we lift it off the boy?"

The situation was highly delicate as one of the stone slabs was resting on the child's head, and could give way at any moment, putting the child at risk of sustaining the full weight of the stone on his head.

Due to a coordinated effort by police and firefighters, it only took nine minutes for the child to be freed from the weight of the stones. The child's parents were able to keep him calm as first responders worked their way around the stone slabs and rescued him.

The child was then given emergency medical treatment at the scene to evaluate him for any traumas and then transported to the Portsmouth Regional Hospital where he is still being treated for serious, but non-life threatening injuries.