Scunthorpe householder says he could have been buried alive after falling down hole
A SCUNTHORPE man has spoken of the moment he fell into a four foot hole when his driveway collapsed.
Ronald Matthews says he will be out of work for months after falling into the hole while washing his car.
But he says he was told he could have been "buried alive" in the incident – and had to wait half-an-hour to be pulled out.
Mr Matthews, 64, of Portman Road, Scunthorpe, said: "When the fire services arrived, I heard them say: don't move, because I could be buried alive.
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"I was in the hole for about 30 minutes until I was finally pulled free.
"It all happened so quickly and I smashed my head on my way down.
"I landed on my shoulder, which was agony as I had only just recovered from a shoulder injury.
"I fell into sewage, which covered my clothes and sand went into my mouth.
"I drive heavy plant machinery for agencies as a job.
"I won't be able to work again for months as I have no strength in my shoulder and my knee was badly damaged in the fall."
Mr Matthews' wife, Joan Matthews, 66, said: "Ronald had shouted for a cup of coffee so I made him one, but when I walked outside, he had disappeared.
"I heard faint shouting and looked down the drive and all I could see was the top of his head in the ground."
Mr Matthews said he first noticed a small hole in 2007 when one of the blocks in his driveway disappeared.
He said: "We called a builder who did a great job by repairing it for me.
"We thought nothing more of it until May last year when a 20-inch hole appeared in the pavement by our drive.
"We phoned North Lincolnshire Council and they put plastic cones around it and a plastic cover over the hole.
"It is very frustrating, as I babysat that hole since it first appeared in 2007 and I feel a fool because I was the person who fell down it."
A North Lincolnshire Council spokesman said: "We are aware of a hole developing outside a resident's property on Portman Road. It is believed an underlying water issue has caused the footpath to give way in one location.
"This issue had been reported to Severn Trent prior to Christmas and the area had been signposted. Severn Trent is now investigating."
A spokeswoman for Severn Trent said: "We suspect there is damage to the sewer, but until we dig down there we won't know.
"We have put another job to go back out and carry out some excavation work to look at the issue and carry out any necessary repairs.
"We know it might be an inconvenience for some local residents getting in and out of their properties, but we are working as quickly as we can to investigate it."