Parents’ warning as Jessica, 8, saved from fall into flooded drain
PUBLISHED: 16:28 06 October 2020 | UPDATED: 19:42 06 October 2020
The parents of an eight-year-old girl have spoken of the horror moment their daughter had to be saved from falling down an open drain.
Youngster Jessica Joy was out walking with her dad Garry, who runs a flooring firm, along Burns Road in Royston on Monday. At about 7pm, she went to paddle in the puddle at the bus stop near Roysia Surgery, as there were no buses nearby.
It turns out, a flooded drain beneath the puddle was partially open due to a broken cover.
Mum Karen, a childminder, told the Crow: “She started walking in the puddle with her wellies on. My husband held her hand as he walked with her, and all of a sudden she just fell. She did the splits like Bambi – one leg had gone, she went in right up to her hip. My husband grabbed her, it happened so quickly.
“She came home shivering and crying, she said she thought she was not going to see us again, she thought she was going down.
“It’s full of dirty puddle water, so we don’t know how big or deep the hole was. When we got home what had happened sunk in.
“Not a lot shocks my husband – but he kept saying ‘what if?’
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“Kids are kids, if they see a puddle they want to go in it. If there are parents who don’t know that this hole is there something terrible could happen.”
Jessica – who is 3ft 9ins – had some bruises and back pain after the fall. She has a big sister Leila, 17, and 24-year-old brother Brandon – who came over worried about his little sister after the fall.
Karen contacted the police and Herts County Council that evening – but as of Tuesday morning the puddle was still there with a cone in the middle.
She said: “Something should have been done there and then, this morning I expected to see workmen there and it being fixed.”
The Crow understands the hole is around 3ft deep with a broken drain cover.
County Councillor Fiona Hill told the Crow: “I first reported this on September 1 as there was a problem over the bank holiday weekend. If water is remaining for a considerable period of time there is an issue that needs resolving and I have been pushing for it ever since.
“I am very sorry that a young girl has now been involved in an accident, and hope she soon recovers from her ordeal.”
The Crow has contacted Herts County Council contractor Ringway and is yet to receive a response, but we understand that the issue has now been identified and it is being treated as a matter of urgency.
UPDATE: A spokesperson for Hertfordshire County Council said: “We’re sorry to hear about this incident. Our highways emergency crew attended this site within two hours of it being reported to us and did what they could to make it temporarily safe. Unfortunately, due to the flood water, there was a limit to what they could practically do. A permanent repair to the broken cover will take place in the next few weeks.”
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