Girl Rescued From Sewer After Fall Through Open Manhole (Photos)

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A 12-year-old girl was rescued from the sewer by firefighters after she fell through an open manhole cover and spent an hour yelling for help.

Grace Knox fell through the manhole in Buffalo, New York, landing in the sewer about 12 feet down. Her phone landed on the pavement, leaving her with no way to call for help, according to WKBW. 

She spent an hour in a foot of rushing water, yelling for help, before a passerby heard her and called rescuers. 

Grace's grandfather, William Miles, told WGRZ how Grace described the ordeal. 

"Very dark, very cold, and very lonely," he said. "She was screaming for an hour and a half. Finally a Good Samaritan who was out for his daily walk heard her screams and came to her rescue. I thank him so much." 

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Grace suffered a broken ankle and is recovering from hypothermia. A photo shared by her family shows Grace smiling in her hospital bed after her rescue.

"When the crews arrived, the girl was down in the hole," Assistant Fire Commissioner Johnathan Eaton said, according to WGRZ. "We used the assistance of a ladder and a rope, and she actually helped herself for the rescue." 

"I believe an angel grabbed her and helped her down," Miles told WGRZ. "And an angel was there to pick her back up again."

A city spokesman said that no sewer work is being done in that area and that authorities are unsure why or how the manhole cover was removed, according to WKBW.

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A photo taken by WBEN shows the narrow manhole. The hole is pitch black, and the bottom cannot be seen.

Manhole covers weigh about 150 pounds and workers need a special tool to lift them out of the ground. The cover for the manhole Grace fell through was located in a yard down the street from the hole.

WGRZ reports whoever removed the manhole cover could face charges of attempted larceny, criminal mischief and vandalism. 

According to Eaton, the sewage Grace was trapped in could have been toxic. 

"There is a depletion of oxygen down there," he said, according to WBEN. "It's good that she just suffered a lower leg injury. It could have been a lot worse."

Grace's family told WGRZ that they are considering a lawsuit. 

"It shouldn't have been open," Miles said. "And if it was open, it shouldn't have been left open."

Sources: WKBW, WGRZ, WBEN / Featured Image: Infrogmation/Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: Knox Family via WGRZ, WBEN/Twitter

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