22/08/2014 07:30 BST | Updated 20/05/2015 06:12 BST

CCTV Captures Terrifying Moment Three-Year-Old Falls Down Manhole


A three-year-old boy narrowly avoided falling down a drain after a manhole cover gave way beneath his feet.

The terrifying moment Oliver Akenhead stepped on the unsecured manhole while playing outside with his sister was captured on CCTV.

The footage shows Oliver walking across a grassed area used for children's games in Kelloe, County Durham.

As he walks over the manhole, it gives way under his weight and he falls down the hole. Fortunately, Oliver put out his arms as he fell, which prevented him from falling deeper into the drain.

His panicked screams were heard by his sister Daisy, eight, and passers by who rushed to rescue him.

Oliver suffered cuts on his legs and back and took a blow to his left cheek, where the manhole cover had struck him.

His dad, Stewart, told the Northern Echo: "What would have happened if he'd fallen all the way down?

"Daisy might have run ahead. Oliver wouldn't have been able to get out on his own."

Mum, Amy, added: "For something like that to happen to a little boy, he was traumatised. It will affect him."

Northumbrian Water - the company responsible for the manhole - responded by sending workmen to secure the lid in place with cement later the same day.

A spokesman said: "We are sorry to learn of Oliver's frightening fall and glad that he doesn't appear to have suffered any serious injury and that he's hopefully none the worse for his ordeal."

The firm has nearly 500,000 manholes in its North-East sewerage network.

"It's impossible for the company to regularly inspect them all and in addition to our own monitoring we depend on the public, agencies and councils who maintain grassed areas such as this one in Kelloe to report any faults, which we immediately deal with as a top priority," the spokesperson added.

"We appeal to anyone who knows about a manhole that needs work to please let us know about it."