Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Hole Load of Flood Trouble; Mum Is Lucky to Be Alive

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Hole Load of Flood Trouble; Mum Is Lucky to Be Alive

Article excerpt

Byline: SARAH SCOTT

A DAY of celebration turned into a nightmare for Rachel Todd when she almost drowned after plunging down a manhole during the freak floods.

The young mum had been celebrating her grandfather Jack Todd's 76th birthday last Thursday when the rain began lashing down outside.

As flood water poured into her grandparents home in Holmlea, Dipton, near Stanley, County Durham, 23-year-old Rachel ran outside to move the cars from the driveway.

"We were just making the tea and we had a carrot cake for his birthday when it just started lashing down and within half an hour it started coming into the house," said Rachel, who has a three-year-old daughter Summah.

Rachel, who lives near her grandparents in Fairhill Avenue, Dipton, ran outside with her cousin Liam to move their cars from the dip outside.

"The manhole cover outside their house in the drive must have come off and I totally forgot it was there and the water was that deep you could not see anything," said the mum-of-one.

"It was up to my knees and I couldn't see the manhole and I just went down it.

"I felt my feet go down and my whole body went down. My head went under.

"The manhole was at my waist and I was completely underwater, it was terrifying." Rachel said she was sure she would have drowned if her cousin Liam had not been there to pull her back up.

"I managed to keep my arms up which was a good thing and Liam could pull me up.

"It was all down the left side of my body and pain in my arms," she said.

But Rachel said she was thankful it was her who fell in the dangerous manhole and not her young daughter or elderly grandparents, Jack and Sally, 79.

"I am just glad it was me and not them," she said They would not have been able to help themselves like I did.

"It could have been a lot worse."

However, Rachel was unfazed by her brush with death and despite being soaked she ran back into the house to help her grandparents and rescue their treasured possessions.

"I think I was just going on adrenaline," she said.

"I had to keep going, we were going to move my grandparents upstairs but the water was rising that fast my cousin's friend had to come and help carry my grandad out of the house. …

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