This terrifying CCTV footage shows the moment a little boy disappears down a manhole because the cover was unsecured.
Three year-old Oliver Akenhead can be seen in the video playing with his sister Daisy. As he walks across a grassed area that children regularly play on, he steps on a manhole cover, which then dramatically flips to a vertical position, means Oliver plunges into the chasm beneath.
As passers-by run to help, little Oliver can be seen using his arms to stop himself from falling to the bottom of the manhole. Despite the weight of the manhole cover pressing on him, Oliver manages to hold on until he is rescued and checked over.
Oliver then returned home with his sister to his house in Kelloe, County Durham. However, he suffered cuts on his legs and back and was left distressed by the accident.
His livid parents, Stewart and Amy Akenhead are demanding answers; Mr Akenhead said: “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.”
Oliver’s mother added: “For something like that to happen to a little boy, he was traumatised.”
Later that same day, the company responsible for the manhole cover, Northumbrian Water, arrived on the scene to secure the manhole lid. A spokesman for the water company said it was sorry to hear of Oliver’s fall.