The mum of a toddler who plummeted down a drain in a shocking accident has spoken of her “crazy” week appearing on national TV.
In chilling CCTV footage that has now been seen by millions, 18-month-old Theo Prior disappeared down the shaft in Ashford on Sunday morning, before the metal drain cover closed on top of him.
Watch the awful moment Theo fell down the drain
Since KentOnline broke the news on Sunday it has been a busy few days for mum Amy Blyth and little Theo – who appeared on Good Morning Britain this morning, were on ITV News yesterday, and have featured in many other papers and news sites.
Amy says Theo, who was left concussed in the accident but miraculously got away without a broken bone, is now “terrified” of drains.
“We had an interview out near the drain yesterday, with ITV, and he was absolutely screaming and pointing at the drain,” said the 23-year-old.
“Even when we’re in the car driving he’s pointing at the drains, screaming. It’s horrific.
The deep hole down which Theo fell. Picture: Amy Blyth
“He doesn’t even want to walk on the pavement.”
She adds that Theo is now poorly with a “very wheezy” chest, and is still complaining of a headache.
“I don’t know whether it’s [what happened], or stress, or not sleeping,” she said.
“We’re waiting for a call back from the doctor.”
Amy and Theo stayed at a hotel in London last night, before appearing on ITV’s Good Morning Britain at 7.20am today with presenters Susanna Reid and Ben Shephard who she describes as “really lovely”.
The mum says her outrage at what happened banished any nerves she might have had, at appearing live on national TV.
“I feel so angry,” she said. “Normally I’d be absolutely terrified, but I know I’ve got to do it and it’s got to be done.
“We just want to get some justice for my little boy, and to raise awareness.”
CCTV footage captured in Beecholme Drive, Ashford, shows the moment Theo fell down the drain near his grandmother’s home.
As he disappears from view, Amy springs into action and throws the manhole lid aside, before rushing to rescue her toddler.
“My first thought was ‘oh my God, he’s dead’,” she said. “It was actually like a horror film.”
Amy Blyth with her son Theo Prior. Picture: Amy Blyth
Amy says she believes the manhole cover should have been stronger.
“It should have been a big thick one, made of metal,” she said.
Following the horrific accident, Amy has been overwhelmed with support from her family, friends and strangers shocked by the bone-chilling video.
Amy has complained to Southern Water and says she “needs answers”.
Southern Water is understood to be carrying out a full review of its policies on manholes following the incident.
The manhole became Southern Water’s asset in 2011, when ownership was transferred from the local authority.
The utility firm did not install the original cover, but has now replaced it with a secure iron cover.
John Penicud, the utility company’s head of wastewater treatment, said: “This is clearly a shocking incident and we are sorry for the distress that the child and their family experienced. Our County Customer Manager is supporting the family.
“When we were told about the situation our teams were on-site quickly and the manhole cover was immediately made safe. We are keeping the Health and Safety Executive informed of our actions.
“The manhole was inspected in February this year and was in a good condition.
“Anyone with a concern about a manhole should call us on 0330 303 0368.”
Accidents Ashford Human Interest Kent News Quirky Video Lydia Chantler-Hicks