Primary 5 English - Sample Comprehension Passage
The crevice was a little more than a crack in the rough terrain, barely 50cm wide. Curious, Seth stood at its edge, poised to go in.
It was just before noon on 20 June 2015.
The sun was high in the sky but it was still chilly in the Nottawasaga Bluffs, a rugged area in a snow belt about 140km northeast of Toronto, Canada.
Seth knew the temperature inside the crevice will hover around -2°C.
But he loved the challenge of exploring caves and crevices and he believed that his jeans, T-shirt and sturdy jacket should give him enough protection.
”I won't be long,” he thought.
Bracing his arms on the edge of the crevice to control his descent, he recalled the special technique of breathing in deeply and exhaling to relax his muscles to make his 1.83m tall, 70kg body as small as possible.
Down, down he went, between the ice-covered walls.
It did not matter that he had neither a rope nor survival kit for he had done this countless times before without a problem.
Coming to a stop on a ledge, he took out his phone and used it to illuminate his surroundings.
The crevice walls came into glittering focus and his breath hovered in front of him. The smell was a mix of mould and earth - damp, heavy and dark.
After a few minutes, Seth realised that if he went any further, he would not be able to climb out.
He stepped onto a rock, ready to hoist himself up and out of the crevice. To his horror, the rock gave way and Seth slid into the darkness.
There was no time to cry out. There was no one to hear him even if he did.
Once he came to a stop, Seth took a few minutes to catch his breath.
The sheer force of the fall had left him squashed against one jagged wall and his back red and raw against the one behind him.
“Stay calm," he told himself. He looked up and saw a crack of light about 20m above him. “Use the phone to call for help,” he thought.
But when he reached for his phone, he realised that there was no service that far underground.
One hour passed, then maybe two or three. In the dark, Seth had lost track of time.
He wondered what his wife, Jamie, was doing and if she had realised that he was away for a long time. He did not tell her exactly where he was going.
Every once in a while, he called out, “Help! Is anyone there?" There was no answer.
Then he heard shuffling and growls from above. What was it? There was a glint from a pair of eyes, staring through the opening.
Relief flooded him. He had been found! Fire Chief Colin and his team were at the scene. The rescue expert, David, put on a harness and a hard hat with a lantern.
His colleagues lowered fire into the dark hole. David stayed down, talking with Seth about his wife to keep the trapped man awake.
He then threaded a weighted rope more than 12m into the dark, which Seth caught and managed to secure.
Finally, after 12 hours in the crevice, Seth was on the move. Firefighters pulled him up slowly, a millimetre at a time.