18-Month-Old Boy Disappears Into the Ground When Manhole Collapses

manholeArthur Hayward literally saw his 18-month-old son, AJ, disappear before his eyes. They were at a family barbecue last weekend, and the toddler was running around playing, jumping between two manhole covers. Then suddenly one gave way, and down AJ went -- 10 feet below the earth's surface.

Talk about a parent's worst nightmare. Those manhole covers always make me nervous when my kids walk on them, and this is exactly what I always imagine happening, but tell myself never will. Well, as the saying goes, never say never. 


Arthur's fiance, Leanne Webb, explained what happened to the Evesham Journal:

We were just talking here, we were watching him he was singing and walking around there humming to himself. He trod on the first one then he walked across on that one and he just disappeared. He was gone.

Fortunately, the manhole cover -- made of heave cast-iron -- fell to the side of AJ. If it had fallen on top of him, things could have been much, much worse. As it was, AJ hit his head on the way down and was treated for a concussion but released from the hospital the next day. Miraculously he seems to have escaped the whole trauma without any lasting repercussions.

For his parents, however, the memory certainly won't fade anytime soon. "Every time I close my eyes I can see him falling," Arthur said.

I think when something like that happens, you likely either go one way or another as a parent. You either become paranoid and want to try to protect your child from every little thing. Or you realize that no matter how much you try to plan and protect, sometimes things just happen, and you let go a little. I don't know which side I'd fall on after such a scare -- hopefully I won't have to find out.

Can you imagine this happening to your child?


Image via Joe Shablotnik/Flickr   

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