Father saves toddler sucked 150ft through drain

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A quick-thinking father saved his three-year-old daughter from certain death after she fell down a storm drain during the floods.

The girl had plunged down the drain and was sucked 150ft through a storm-swollen drain into the River Wear at Chester le Street, County Durham.

Police said it was only due to her father's quick response that the girl survived.

He realised what had happened and dived into the river to pluck his daughter to safety after she had been thrown into the rain-lashed Wear from the drain.

The toddler was with her parents and sister walking the family dog in Riverside Park before returning home to Leeming, North Yorkshire after visiting relatives.

She was paddling in 6in of flood water in the park when she suddenly disappeared down the uncovered drain, which had been concealed by the water, and was quickly followed by the dog.

Sergeant Keith Wardle said: "Fortunately, when the girl and her dog disappeared, the dad quickly realised what was happening, ran to the river bank and plucked her from the swollen river.

"She had travelled about 150ft underground through the flooded drain and the action of her and the dog through the drain seems to have unblocked it."

Paramedics attended the scene and treated the girl for hypothermia before she was taken by ambulance to the University Hospital of North Durham where she was kept in overnight.

Police said the dog, a boxer-mastiff cross, was still missing.