'This is the end': Woman 'almost died' after falling into 10-foot hole full of sewage she thought was a puddle

15 March 2023, 19:45 | Updated: 15 March 2023, 19:47

Laura Gerber thought she was going to die after falling into a hole filled with sewage
Laura Gerber thought she was going to die after falling into a hole filled with sewage. Picture: Facebook/Laura Gerber

By Kit Heren

A British woman thought she was going to die after falling into a ten-foot hole filled with sewage she thought was a puddle as she was walking home from a night out.

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The horrific incident, which took place in Watford at 2.30 in the morning on Sunday, saw Laura Gerber rushed to hospital with fears she could have Weil's disease after swallowing sewage water.

Ms Gerber said: ‘I stepped backwards to let someone else out of the car and dropped straight into a sinkhole. I hit my back on the way down and massively injured myself.

"After gasping for breath under the water and somewhat managing to keep myself afloat, I managed to gain strength and pull myself up. All that I was thinking in those moments was that this is the end."

She said she was thankful it was her, a relatively strong person, who fell in, rather than someone weaker.

Laura Gerber next to the hole
Laura Gerber next to the hole. Picture: Facebook/Laura Gerber

Ms Gerber said: "This could’ve been a child, a car, the elderly, literally anyone.‘

"f I have hit my head instead of my back and lost consciousness I would’ve gone under and due to the current below I would’ve gotten completely lost and never been found again,’ she said.

Jason Topping, Ms Gerber's boyfriend, told local paper the Watford Observer: "Her whole head went under and she swallowed sewage water.

Ms Gerber was scratched in the incident
Ms Gerber was scratched in the incident. Picture: Facebook/Laura Gerber

‘It’s not nice to say but luckily she hit her back so her arms went out and she stopped herself.

"If she didn’t, I probably wouldn’t have a girlfriend here today.

"As she put her hands to the side and managed to claw on and, in a miracle, climbed out."

Video posted by Ms Gerber to Facebook appeared to show workmen digging up the hole in the road.

I’m not normally one to share this sort of stuff on Facebook but after one of the scariest experiences of my life last...

Posted by Laura Gerber on Sunday, March 12, 2023

She was taken to Watford General Hospital. Doctors were worried she had Weil's Disease, also called leptospirosis, which is spread through animal urine.

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"This can be life-threatening," Laura said of Weil's disease.

"All I ask is if ever you come into contact with sewage PLEASE be seen immediately."

She added: "I’ve always used the saying about life flashing before your eyes but honestly, my life has never flashed before my eyes like this before.

"Please make sure you keep an eye when going slashing in puddles and make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else."

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