What started out as a regular Sunday morning chore almost turned tragic for a resident of Wotton, Christ Church today.
The man, who asked to remain anonymous, almost fell into a 70-foot well when the concrete slab he stepped on collapsed as he took out his garbage just after 10 a.m.
Luckily for him, the garbage can, which he was pulling, served as a balance beam and stopped him from plummeting several feet to his probable death.
Ironically, seven months ago 17-year-old Kyriq Boyce died in a similar manner after falling into a 100-foot well at Martin Road, the Pine, St Michael.
The 39-year-old man told Barbados TODAY he believed he would have died had he not kept his balance after the concrete well cover caved in.
“I was taking out the garbage and just as I was about to step on the well cover a fella shout me. I hold up my hand and at the same time the well cave in and my front foot fell into the well, but because I was holding the garbage can it help to balance me, so half of my body was inside the well and half was out.
“When I catch myself I let go of the garbage can and I was able to roll myself onto the grass. If I wasn’t holding that garbage can I would have gone straight down in that well,” he said.
He escaped with minor bruises to his hands, lower leg and back.
And even as he struggled to come to grips with his close brush with death, the concerned man said the situation could have been much worse had it been one of the many children who live in the housing area who had stepped on the well.
“If this was one of the children who live in Wotton things could have been much worse. One of them could have ended up dead,” he noted.
Just after noon, personnel from the National Housing Corporation (NHC) arrived to place a temporary cover over the well along with caution tape.
They encountered several irate residents, who claimed the community was being neglected by Government.
Parliamentary representative for the area Ryan Straughn was also on hand and told Barbados TODAY the wooden covers were just a temporary fix and that NHC workers would return tomorrow to provide a permanent solution.
He promised that the NHC would act speedily in fixing not only the affected well, but also other wells in the densely populated housing area.
“The state of the wells on the public estates are obviously in dire need of repair. I know the NHC has commenced some work, certainly in the Pine area and others, but obviously as you can see here there was an incident where a resident was disposing of some refuse and luckily no one was injured seriously, so therefore we will appeal to the NHC to seek to address not just this particular situation but the rest of the wells as far as Wotton is concerned,” Straughn said.
“This is a further example of the kind of neglect, if you like, that these communities would have experienced over a number of years. But we have given a commitment in terms of being able to solve these but obviously given the current resources, I know the NHC has done an inspection of all of the wells across all of the estates and has been seeking to respond to them as strategically as they can.”
Straughn, the Minister in the Ministry of Finance, also used the opportunity to plead with residents not to traverse on wells as this could be a big risk. (RB)