Teen falls 15 feet through snow-covered manhole


By Alexander Lawrie

A SCOTS teenager has had a lucky escape after falling 15-feet down a snow-covered manhole.

Ellis Mitchell, 15, was innocently playing on a grassy area with friends when she plunged into the uncovered access after it had been hidden by heavy snow.

The manhole cover is thought to have been stolen by thieves the previous night.

Ellis, from Kirkcaldy, Fife, was left badly shaken and suffered an injury to her neck along with cuts and bruises after her dramatic fall last Friday.

Luckily for the teenager, her boyfriend Scott Ramsay was on hand to pull her to safety before the emergency services were called.

Scottish Water has now issued a warning asking residents to report any further thefts.

Ellis’ dad David is also worried that smaller children could be at risk.

He said: “Ellis had been crossing the field area close to our home when she walked over the manhole and fell right through it.

“The hole hadn’t been visible because the heavy snow had built up in mounds around its edges.

“It was quite a big hole, I would say at least 15 feet, and Ellis was just lucky her boyfriend was there to help get her out.

“She was shaken up and bruised by the time she got home, but fortunately hadn’t been seriously injured.

“A lot of local children play in that area, and many of them had been out enjoying the snow that day.

“It could easily have been a much younger child, or someone on their own who had fallen in, unable to get themselves out.”

The family immediately contacted Scottish Water to alert local inspectors to the problem, which had been made worse by the heavy snowfall.

Scottish Water they didn’t know the manhole cover was missing and it hadn’t been reported stolen.

A Scottish Water spokesman said: “We advise the public to report any incidence of ironwork theft in the region.

“After calling at the family home to make sure the young girl was okay, our inspector immediately made safe the manhole.

”Health and safety is a priority for us and we treat such thefts very seriously.

“We would urge local residents to report any further incidents of ironwork theft immediately.”

Cast iron manhole and drain covers have become a target for thieves across Scotland who then sell them on for scrap metal.

Fife experienced a spate of such thefts in 2004, when around 50 covers went missing, and a number of other similar cases have been recorded across the country.

But Fife police said they had not received any reports of such thefts in the Kirkcaldy area so far this year.