A city schoolboy had a lucky escape after becoming trapped in manhole he had fallen down.
The 12-year-old lad became stuck below ground level in the small drain on Whittlesey Road, Stanground, Peterborough.
It is not known how he became wedged into the small hole, but emergency services were called to help the stricken boy at 4pm on Monday, with a large number of fire fighters planning the rescue operation to bring him back to the surface unscathed.
The youngster needed fire and ambulance crews to pull him to safety after half an hour beneath the ground. He was shaken by his experience, but unhurt.
Nadine Jones, who called 999 after seeing the boy stuck in the hole, said: “The drain cover was a loose, plastic temporary one, rather than a metal one, as works had been taking place.
“You could not see the top of his head. I think the drain was about eight foot deep.”
Watch Commander Rob Allport, from Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue, said it was an unusual rescue operation.
He said: “This was not your every day rescue. A 12-year-old boy had fallen down a sewer inspection pit which was only just wide enough to take him so access was difficult.
“The boy was only just below ground level but his legs had buckled under him during his fall which had pined them to the side wall of the pit causing him to become trapped.
“Firefighters firstly took the weight of the boy to try and free his legs but it became obvious to them that they would need to move his legs to release him.
“As access was an issue we had to use a series of equipment to straighten his legs whilst we remained and took the weight of the boy.
“We managed to straighten his right leg which enabled him to stand up so we were able to lift him out of the pit and he was then handed over to ambulance staff to check him over.”
An East of England Ambulance Service spokesman said the boy had been shaken by his experience, but he did not need hospital treatment.
A spokesman for Anglian Water said: “As soon as we were made aware of the situation, we went out to make the drain safe.
“When our engineers arrived there was evidence of vandalism and tampering with the cover. It appears someone had removed the screws.
“We put the screws back in and made the manhole safe.”