Woman rescued after falling down dangerous manhole in New Jersey

Anthony Johnson Image
Wednesday, July 27, 2022
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A woman fell into a manhole after the ground opens up beneath her in South Orange, New Jersey Monday night.

EAST ORANGE, New Jersey (WABC) -- A woman was returning home Monday night when the ground underneath her feet opened and swallowed her partially down a manhole in New Jersey.

The victim, Venessa Diagne, says she screamed for help. Luckily her neighbors heard her and rushed to rescue her.

Diagne used every ounce of her strength to keep herself from falling into the manhole.

"So I didn't pay attention, but I wouldn't walk in an open man hole," Diagne said.

The cover for the manhole she fell down, rises when it rains and becomes a hazard for anyone walking on the sidewalk.

Crews have been working on the problem, but one look underground showed muddy, stagnant water that was not draining properly.

Diagne suffered numerous bumps and bruises on her legs from struggling not to be sucked in.

"My entire right side was in there and the plate was under me getting ready to slide from under me, so I was screaming and not moving cause I didn't want the plate to move and I didn't want to fall in," Diagne said.

The city is addressing the problem but it took a near tragedy to get the manhole repaired.

"I've seen the water come up, but seen it open and off within the last three years," Diagne said.

Diagne says two other neighbors have fallen into the manhole.

The city of South Orange is investigating this incident but with the repairs, everyone hopes this never happens again.

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