Man stuck after manhole fall in St Paul's Cray describes 'cold, dark and damp' hole

News Shopper: Michael Pelling was stuck in the hole for around half an hour Michael Pelling was stuck in the hole for around half an hour

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."

News Shopper:

Comments (6)

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5:16pm Fri 28 Feb 14

Slonik says...

Thames Water can't monitor every manhole 24/7 so unless they'd been previously informed of the missing/damaged cover and failed to act promptly to remedy the problem, I don't see how they can be held responsible.
Thames Water can't monitor every manhole 24/7 so unless they'd been previously informed of the missing/damaged cover and failed to act promptly to remedy the problem, I don't see how they can be held responsible. Slonik

5:47pm Fri 28 Feb 14

cookster says...

Ironically he probably bought that manhole cover off someone the previous day.
Ironically he probably bought that manhole cover off someone the previous day. cookster

8:34am Sat 1 Mar 14

caz b says...

Whatever ..Another truly unlikely story he knew the manhole cover was broken for months and it was on the way to his car apparently. When he said about seeing his lawyer it's apparent what this story is all about
Whatever ..Another truly unlikely story he knew the manhole cover was broken for months and it was on the way to his car apparently. When he said about seeing his lawyer it's apparent what this story is all about caz b

9:43am Sat 1 Mar 14

Oldchap says...

If the photo is of the actual hole (knowing NS unlikely) then it's on a grass verge not the footpath so how did he manage to get to it

Compo claim
If the photo is of the actual hole (knowing NS unlikely) then it's on a grass verge not the footpath so how did he manage to get to it Compo claim Oldchap

3:26pm Sat 1 Mar 14

reasonable75 says...

He said the cover had been broken for months. As Slonik said Thames Water can't go round checking every manhole every day - so if Mr Pelling knew it was damaged why didn't he report it?

He also said "it could have been a child". Well if a child had been injured then he would have been to blame
He said the cover had been broken for months. As Slonik said Thames Water can't go round checking every manhole every day - so if Mr Pelling knew it was damaged why didn't he report it? He also said "it could have been a child". Well if a child had been injured then he would have been to blame reasonable75

10:29am Tue 4 Mar 14

Slonik says...

Yup, bit silly falling down a manhole you know has been broken for months. Should have gone to Specsavers... lol
Yup, bit silly falling down a manhole you know has been broken for months. Should have gone to Specsavers... lol Slonik

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