A team of 10 Shropshire firefighters used a safety line and ladder to pull a woman to safety after she fell down a gaping 30ft hole which opened up as a garden path collapsed under her shortly after 1pm yesterday.
The woman had to hang on to tree roots after she fell as she took rubbish out to the bin at the home of a client she was visiting when the ground opened up beneath her.
Carer Jayne Arnel, a mother-of-four, fell 6ft on to a small ledge above an old well running underneath the garden and used her mobile phone to call for help.
The 49-year-old had to balance on the ledge hanging on to tree roots for more than half an hour before firefighters could rescue her. But she only suffered bruises and shock from her ordeal.
She said: “I am just in a state of shock. If I hadn’t fallen to one side I wouldn’t be here now. There was no warning. I had literally just walked out of the back door and was walking across the paviors and just felt the ground give way.
“I landed on a ledge about 6ft down and I could see down into a whole shaft.
“I phoned work and they got help. Much Wenlock fire brigade was absolutely brilliant, so was the ambulance crew.
“I was hanging on to tree roots with one hand. I didn’t dare move because I could feel myself slipping.”
A team of 10 firefighters used a safety line and ladder to pull Mrs Arnel to safety after her fall shortly after 1pm yesterday.
Incident commander Carl Franks said Mrs Arnel had been very lucky. He said: “She was only about 6ft down so she was very fortunate in that respect. Had she fallen the full depth it would have been a far more difficult rescue.
“I think it was an old well, about 4ft by 6ft in circumference and it went down about 30 or 40ft. It was insecure around the access site itself because the floor had given way. We secured somebody in place first and then sent somebody down.”
Mrs Arnel said: “The firefighters were brilliant. They kept me so calm. It felt to me like I was there for hours and hours.”
She was checked her over by a paramedic but did not need hospital treatment.