Walberswick: Brother of pit plummet woman recalls drama

The brother of a woman injured by a 20ft fall down a disused cesspit has recounted an agonising three-hour wait for her to be safely lifted to the surface.

Jacqueline Bruce-Jones was hanging out washing at home in The Street, Walberswick, when the concrete-covered cesspit she was standing on gave way.

The sister of Sir Peter Batho, Chairman of Saxmundham Town Council, fell almost 20ft to the bottom of the dry pit, hitting a metal bar on her descent.

Four fire engines and paramedics were sent to the address after Mrs Bruce-Jones’ husband Ian called for help at about 3.35pm on Thursday

Sir Peter, who arrived soon afterwards, recalled the scene, saying: “She had walked on the concrete many times but for some reason it gave way.

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“Emergency services had come from all over the place. There were already two fire engines and paramedics there when I arrived.

“When she hit the bar half way down it broke her fall and probably saved her life, but the difficulty was in lifting her out.”

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Mrs Bruce-Jones had a suspected broken arm, cuts and bruises and possible spinal injuries. The positioning of the bar meant she couldn’t be lifted out horizontally but instead had to be raised head first.

“She was down there for probably three hours,” said Sir Peter. “She was sedated and the emergency services worked extremely well to get her out and take her to hospital.

“I wasn’t allowed anywhere near the well but she recognised people when she came up.”

Mrs Bruce-Jones was taken to James Paget Hospital in Gorleston where she remained yesterday.

Fire engines from Bungay, Felixstowe and Southwold were sent to the scene, along with a specialist unit from Lowestoft and an Urban Search and Rescue team from Norfolk.

An East of England Ambulance Service spokesman said an incident officer, rapid response unit and ambulance were also sent along with a Hazardous Area Response Team in case the area around the well was unstable.

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