This is the terrifying moment a manhole cover “exploded” during flash floods in a city centre – and narrowly missed killing a woman.
Water pressure built up that was so powerful it erupted ‘like a fountain’ and blew the heavy concrete and metal slab 12ft into the air.
Dad-of-two Jode Wardell watched in horror as the cover landed just a metre away from where his wife Adriana, 42, was standing.
He said: “It could have killed her. My wife was standing one pace to the right of it, and it landed a metre away from her.
“If she had been one step to the left of it, the weight of it would have killed her.
“I’m a big guy and I couldn’t lift it – that thing must have weighed a couple of hundred kilos.
“It went up 12 or 13 ft in the air and then dented the ground where it landed. If that had hit anyone they would’ve been dead.”
The couple were taking daughters Rebecca, four, and Daniela, nine, out for a pizza by the docks in Gloucester, Glos., when the near-miss happened.
They were walking through the Kimbrose Triangle, a pedestrian crossing, when the manhole cover went flying – exactly 10 years since flooding wreaked havoc in the city centre, killing three people.
Jode, 43, said: “It was like the sort of fountain you get in London or in city centres.
“It is lucky my youngest didn’t go running straight forward – she loves that of thing.
“It has really effected my daughter Daniela – she’s terrified. I don’t think she will be walking over manhole covers for a long time.”
Daniela is still talking about her traumatising experience, and her dad added: “She keeps saying ‘it could have killed Mummy.'”
Despite the horrifying potential consequences, Jode was totally unaware of the danger the manhole cover posed at the time.
He said: “I think I thought it was water that was escaping, or that it was like what you see in New York streets.
“I just didn’t think it was air that was causing it. I had pretty much dried off after the torrential rain, but when it exploded l was drenched again.
“The blast of air was incredible, like a bomb.”
He dialled 999 to alert police that the 30ft hole needed to be cordoned off.
Jode added: “It was so deep you couldn’t see the bottom. You could just here gushing water at the bottom of it.”
The flash flooding in the city was so severe it left cars stranded and flooded homes on Tuesday evening.
Jode said: “It was caused because it was a massive downpour. It is the anniversary of the floods that devastated Gloucester 10 years ago.
“They still haven’t got the flood water management right.”