THE MAN who got stuck after falling two metres down an open manhole this week has spoken about his ordeal.
Michael Pelling, 35, said he was trapped in the “cold, dark and damp” hole in St Paul’s Cray for around half an hour after stumbling into it while walking to his car on Monday.
The scrap metal dealer, from Chipperfield Road, said firefighters had to pull him out with ropes after he fractured his wrist, chipped a bone and suffered back pain as a result of the fall.
He explained: “I came out of my house to get in my vehicle. The manhole cover was missing and I fell straight down.
“I was stuck for ages – I was shouting to get out. It was pitch black and was quite scary.
“It’s not good really, is it? It could’ve been a child. I don’t know why the cover was missing, but it’s been broken for months.”
Mr Pelling said he’d lost the feeling in his right leg as an ambulance arrived at the scene, taking him to King’s College Hospital for treatment.
He added he’s going to complain to Thames Water, which owns the drain, and is talking to his lawyer about the accident.
Thames Water has since apologised and said it replaced the cover the next day. It mentioned the recent extreme conditions have caused a number of them to come loose.
A spokesman for the company said: “We received a call from the fire brigade just before 8pm on Monday informing us that there was an open manhole on Chipperfield Road, and someone had fallen down it.
“We would like to offer our sincere apologies to Mr Pelling, who we hope has recovered from his injuries.
“Unfortunately a number of our manhole covers are at risk of coming loose due to the extreme flooding and high groundwater levels, with the high pressure forcing them to pop off."