BBC One Show producer saves son, 3, from cesspit of sewage after manhole collapses

Christine Saul from Buckinghamshire jumped into the total darkness of the massive tank fully-clothed to rescue her three-year-old son after she lost sight of him

Christine and Bertie
Bertie survived by floating on his back until his mum could jump in to save him

A mum has revealed the terrifying moment she saved her three-year-old son from drowning after the boy fell into a manhole cover.

Christine Saul from Buckinghamshire leapt in after her son Bertie when he plunged 5ft below into a huge Victorian-era cesspit beneath their family home.

Bertie was running over a manhole cover last Wednesday (February 2) when it collapsed and Christine was worried when she lost sight of him in the darkness.

“I had my back turned and my other son just said, ‘Bertie’s gone’. All I could see was one side of the cover sticking up,” she said.

Bertie fell through a manhole cover into a tank with 3,000 gallons of sewage


Courtesy Christine Saul/SWNS)

When Christine first looked in, she could see Bertie floating on his back and calling up to her – which she credits to learning how to float in his swimming lessons.

“I’m normally with Bertie in swimming lessons – he’s never swam on his own. I totally think that the swimming lessons saved his life.”

Bertie and his mum were taken to hospital for treatment after they were rescued


Courtesy Christine Saul/SWNS)

He fell through the aluminum manhole cover installed last year while walking home with his mum and older brother Toby.

Christine, who is a producer on BBC’s The One Show, initially tried to phone the emergency services but when she looked for Bertie again, she found that he had disappeared from view.

The brave mum then jumped in fully clothed and found Bertie crying in a corner of the cesspit.

The mum and son duo were stuck in what was said to be a tank large enough to fit a “double-decker bus” and contains up to 3,000 gallons of sewage from two properties.

After Christine’s courageous jump, a passer-by managed to rescue the pair from the pit, first taking Bertie from Christine before helping her up too.

Plumber Guy Simmonds lowered ladders from his work van so Christine could climb out.

He said, “She burst into tears when she got out. It’s amazing how many people have died in similar incidents. It’s frightening really.”

Christine helped him out of the cover and then climbed out using a ladder from a passer-by


Courtesy Christine Saul/SWNS)

Christine and Bertie were then taken to hospital to be treated with antibiotics to ward off any infections they may have contracted from their sewage bath.

“It was horrific, I thought he had gone and I thought he had drowned. I was elated when he was okay…I’m feeling so grateful and thankful,” Christie said.

The mum added her son is doing fine and has already returned to swimming lessons.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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