A mum has praised an eight-year-old girl who rescued her toddler after he fell into a water filled trench.
Ciara Moore said the little girl, Emma Campbell, leapt into action when three-and-a-half year old Taylor 'almost drowned' as he tumbled into the trench on a Derry housing estate.
The little boy was outside his grandmother's house on Sunday evening when the accident happened.
"We're not sure exactly what happened but Emma [Campbell], the wee girl who saved Taylor, said he was completely submerged and all she could see was his fingers sticking out of the water," his shocked mum told the Derry Journal. "I have no idea how she did it but she managed to pull him out. She probably saved his life. She's a real hero. I can't thank her enough. But for her, my wee boy could have drowned."
Ciara said the trench had been excavated while gas pipes were being laid in the area, and had filled up after torrential downpours.
"As far as I'm aware, there had been barriers around the hole - but nothing covering it," she said. "What more of an invitation does a child need?"
The company responsible for the trench said it had been left secured on Friday afternoon, but was vandalised over the weekend, leaving it without sufficient protective barriers.
"This was an act of mindless vandalism which could have had very serious consequences," a spokesman said.
Ciara told reporters that her little boy had been outside the house because his Grandmother was waiting for a food delivery to arrive.
"When anyone is due to arrive at the house, Taylor likes to stand in the garden waiting for them. I was just yards away in the house, tending to my other child who is just nine months old. It was then that he must have made his way over to where the trench is," she said.
"The first I knew of it was when someone told me to come quick. I ran outside to find him standing in the street, soaked to the skin, and in hysterics."
She heaped praise on the little girl who pulled him out and said she was 'savvy' and a 'hero'.
"Rather than looking for an adult, as most children would do, she had the savvy to run and rescue Taylor. God knows what would have happened if she hadn't. A child of eight with that sense is, in my eyes, a real hero. She should receive an award," Ciara said.
Although left physically unharmed Ciara says that Taylor has been 'very nervous' and doesn't want to be left on his own since the incident, and she called for utility companies to 'do more' to secure their work sites.
The mum of the girl who pulled Taylor from the trench said she was 'really, really proud' of her.
"I still can't believe it," said Emma's mum Cathy Rogers. "Emma's not very big herself but, yet, she managed to pull Taylor out of the water. She was so scared after it because she thought that, at one stage, she was going to be dragged into the hole herself. But she said she pulled and pulled at his arm and eventually got him out."