Man falls through unsecured manhole

Bill and Sharon Lowe were planning their next cruise during their daily stroll Sunday morning, along Park Ridge Gotha Road, when Bill suddenly dropped out of site.

“I’m walking, talking and he just totally disappeared off the sidewalk,” said Sharon. Bill was swallowed by a manhole.

“Next thing you know it’s like, what just happened and you’re pulling yourself out of a hole,” said Bill.

Sharon says it all happened so fast, she stood there in disbelief, then held the steel cover sideways, so her husband could wrangle himself back up to street level, without being hit in the head.

“It hurt. Got banged up pretty good,” said Bill.

His upper thigh is badly bruised, a welt surrounded by black and blue marks stretched across his stomach, his knee and calf cut up, and his shoulders are still sore from where he caught himself.

“Stuff you see in cartoons really happens, I guess,” said Bill.

“We tried to fix it, rotate it in there, I just wouldn’t stay,” said Sharon.

She walked alongside Bill as he limped the two miles back to their home. While Bill cleaned up his wounds, Sharon called Orange County’s 311 to report the man-eating manhole. Then she headed back to the scene to warn others.

“I just got a big piece of wood, wrote danger on it,” Sharon said.

She placed that wood over the manhole. A spokesperson for the county tells FOX 35 they had a crew out there fixing the manhole within 45 minutes of Sharon’s call. That spokesperson says their works crews are still investigating how and why the manhole lid came loose.

On Monday, Bill was sore and running a fever, so he went to the doctor. He says he does not have any broken bones, but the doctor gave him a tetanus shot to air on the side of safety. By Tuesday, the Lowes went out to check on the manhole and were relieved to see it was fixed.

“You can see they welded it,” said Bill.

Sharon says she’ll still be keeping an eye out for where they step from now on.

“I’m not stepping on a manhole cover any more, that’s for sure,” said Sharon.