Mother rescues toddler after he falls through broken manhole cover into sewage drain
Watch: Mother saves toddler after he falls through manhole cover into sewage drain
This is the terrifying moment a quick-thinking mother rescued her 18-month-old son after he fell 5ft through a broken manhole cover into a sewage drain.
Amy Blyth, 23, was walking with her son, Theo Prior, in Ashford, Kent, at about 9am on Sunday when he disappeared through the faulty cover.
The cover flipped over and closed on top of him for a frightening split second, before Ms Blyth ripped it off and jumped in after her son.
She stood on ledges on either side of the sewer and managed to reach down and grab Theo, who had fallen to the very bottom of the drain.
She then hauled him up to safety, but the ordeal left him covered in human waste.
The entire shocking rescue was captured on a neighbour's CCTV.
The toddler was left concussed after the 5ft fall into the drain and was calling out for his mother.
"My first thought was, 'Oh my God, he's dead'," said Blyth.
"I yanked the drain lid out, and I just saw him down there, screaming my name. There was sewage up to his knees.
"I jumped down the drain, but it's not big enough for me to bend over to grab him. I had to sort of arch my body to grab him and pull him up.
"I don't know how I did it. My body went in ways I've never bent before, just to get him out of that drain.
"It was so deep you couldn't see my head from the ground, and I wasn't even on the floor.
"Just as I pulled him up I think someone flushed a chain because we were soaked - with I think, possibly, wee. Our clothes are absolutely disgusting."
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Blyth, a personal trainer, said she emerged from the drain "screaming for help", while Theo was in an apparent state of shock and "wasn't really making a noise".
She brought her son to Ashford's William Harvey Hospital, where doctors diagnosed him with mild concussion, but X-rays revealed he escaped without any broken bones.
"It could have ended up so much worse," said Blyth. "If he'd gone down head first, I don't even know if he would be here.
"It makes me feel sick to think of it. It's an absolute nightmare - I'm petrified of drains now. I still feel really shaken from it. I just can't really get over it.
"He literally went straight to the bottom, and I thought I was going to lose him. It was actually like a horror film.
"We were just walking out for him to go to his dad's house. I saw the drain was a little bit loose, but I didn't realise what level it was loose.
"He ran to the drain, stood on it, and just fell the whole way through. And then the drain lid shut on top of him."
Blyth has complained to Southern Water and said she "needs answers" as she believes the drain cover has been faulty for some time.
"My little boy shouldn't have fallen through a drain," she said. "It's not acceptable. We need some answers to why it wasn't fixed."
Southern Water said it is investigating. A spokesman said: "We are aware of a situation involving a child and an open manhole.
"This is clearly an upsetting situation for those involved and our team is on-site. A dedicated customer liaison officer has been assigned to support the family.
"We are taking this matter very seriously and our first priority was to make the area safe. Next steps are to understand exactly what happened."