CEREDO, W.Va. – A group of teenagers on a summer adventure received a scare Thursday night when a girl fell through the steel grate covering a 40-foot flood shaft.
Response crews eventually rescued the girl, along with a boy from the group who climbed down a ladder, jumped into the water to help her and became trapped also.
“She probably fell about 30 feet,” said Ceredo Volunteer Fire Department chief Dave Cottle. “It’s part of our flood wall system. It’s a 4×12 shaft about 40 feet deep. It has pumps in the bottom and grates on the top and somehow she fell through and ended up in about 10 feet of water.”
Cottle said the teens were found clinging to a pipe in the water.
Suited in a harness, Cottle climbed down the ladder, where aging steps were rusted out on the lower end. Fire crews rigged a scaffold to extract the girl, who was unable to climb because of an ankle injury. They hoisted the boy to the ladder and he climbed out.
“They were extremely lucky and, quite frankly, they had no business being over there,” said Cottle. “There’s a metal thing that sticks out. If she would have hit that she would have been in pretty bad shape.”
The girl was being evaluated at a local hospital for her injuries, but was reportedly in good condition.
The Ceredo Police Department was investigating the incident.