Mon, 18 Nov 2019
A four-year-old girl has been left with cuts and bruises after falling down a six-foot open manhole.
The child’s terrified mother had to rush to rescue her daughter, who avoided serious injury after managing to cling on to the lid.
The drama happened at around 10am on Wednesday when beautician Saffron Walker was taking little Evelyn to Mrs Bland’s Infant School in Burghfield.
She had parked on Abbot’s Road, where her sister lives.
Ms Walker recalls: “We parked there so we could walk round to the school.
“My daughter went to knock on my sister’s door, and I was like, ‘no, come back to the car, I need to get your coat and your schoolbag ready.’
“She came back to the car, stood on the corner of the drain, and she’s just gone.
“I looked up, and I couldn’t see her.”
Evelyn had tumbled down a six-foot manhole, but was able to cling on to the lid.
Her foot had become jammed in the drain but a shaken Ms Walker managed to retrieve her.
She said: “She’s cut her knee open.
“She must have bruises coming out on her back, her arms, her hands.
“I’m surprised she hasn’t got any bruising on her face, because her little face was pressed up against the drain lid.”
Evelyn suffers from coeliac disease and her family were concerned that any deep cuts from the fall could have negatively affected her.
Luckily, she appears to have escaped with only relatively minor injuries.
Ms Walker and her mother Debbie claim that the manhole was left exposed during recent works.
The drain lies a short distance from two local schools, Mrs Bland’s and The Willink.
Debbie said: “Somebody’s got to take responsibility for this, it’s disgusting.
“A job like this, you’d have to go health and safety to the extreme.
“We could’ve lost a life.”
Saffron corroborates her mother’s account, noting that she has warned Evelyn about the manhole in the past.
She insists that action must now be taken to ensure that it does not cause further injury.
Ms Walker said: “I am fuming.
“I just keep replaying Evelyn’s little face in my head – it’s horrible how she’s looking at me, clinging on for dear life.”