A five year-old girl had to be rescued from a dangerous hole in the ground by firefighters after she got her foot got stuck in a gully, the ‘Journal’ can reveal.
The family of the little girl say she’s lucky not to have seriously injured herself after falling down the hole in Killycorr Avenue, between Feeny and Claudy, on August 29th.
Her father, Paul McClay, says despite repeated phone calls to various departments no- one had come to fix the hole - all that’s happened is someone has stuck a traffic cone upside -down into the hole.
Yesterday after the ‘Journal’ contacted the Housing Executive, a spokesperson confirmed they did own the land and had visited the site yesterday to secure the gully.
“She was just playing outside her grandfather’s house when her foot got stuck,” said Mr. McClay. “We tried to get her foot out but it was in too deep so we had to call the Fire Brigade. It was very distressing and she was squealing. Her granny was trying to hold her up so she wasn’t bearing all her weight down on the leg. In total she was stuck down the hole for around 40 minutes.”
Mr McClay said that no steps have been made to secure the hole since the incident occurred.
“All that happened is someone put an upside down cone over the hole,” he said. “I’ve been on to the Department of the Environment and Housing Executive but nothing has happened. I’m worried this could happen again. The grandfather is 76 and I don’t want him coming out and getting his walking stick down it.”
A Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service spokesperson said: “Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) received a call at 4:39 pm to a report of a young girl with her foot stuck down a manhole in the Killycorr Avenue area of Claudy on Saturday 29th August.
“Fire Appliances from both Crescent Link and Dungiven Fire Stations were deployed to the scene. Firefighters managed to dig around the manhole to free the girl. The girl was treated at the scene for bruising to her leg, but was not taken to hospital.”
A Housing Executive spokesperson said: “We can confirm that we own this piece of land. We were made aware of this situation today and have already secured the gully.”