FOUR fall into canal as CaRT ignores dangerous algae

Published: Monday, 14 October 2019

THERE have now been a total of four people falling into the Walsall Canal in a single evening as it is covered in green algae that looks like grass.

This year Canal & river Trust have made no attempt at clearing the algae though it is in a town and is proving extremely dangerous.

Mistook the water for grass

On one day alone four people mistook the canal water for grass and plunged in Keith Gudgin reports.

It was the evening of the 5th October when a 19 years old left Nando's restaurant  and seeing the 'grass' at the front of him and believing it a path, stepped onto it and straight into the water.

He could not swim but managed to hold his head above water and was luckily pulled out by friends who took him to the nearby Premier Inn where he was given towels to dry himself.  His mother told that the experience left his son traumatised by his ordeal. as if it wasn't for his friends being present his could have easily drowned.

Father and son

Then a little later that evening Steve Worthington and his 11 years old son took to what to them also looked like a path with both plunging into the canal.

As the young boy could not swim, Steve had to battle to keep his son's head above water as they desperately tried to clamber to safety, and eventually climbed out soaking wet through, with Steve telling:

‘We just stepped straight in and went straight under the water.  We have never been down there and we couldn’t see any warning signs in place. The whole area is thick green weeds and it looks just like grass."

And another

And still another person 'walked' into the Walsall Canal that evening, but luckily, as the others, survived.  Jade Thomason was out on a date who mistook the surface as being solid and plunged into the canal, John Murray reports.

After splashing about in the water, her date managed to help her out and like the others, soaking wet after her ordeal, telling Birmingham Live:

Didn't look like water

"It was around 11pm and it's not very lit up around there. It didn't look like water, I thought it was gravel. I knew the canal was there but I thought the water was down the one side.

"I was walking and suddenly I went straight under. I was completely submerged, it was really deep and very cold."

"I must have been splashing around in there for about five minutes, but it's all a bit of a blur.  It took my date and another passer-by to get me out and I've got a bruised wrist from where they pulled me.

"I felt quite embarrassed and stupid. It was horrible. I thought: 'It could only happen to me' but it turns out there were four of us in one night."

Lost glasses and phone

She told that she lost both her glasses and her phone that were in a bag when she fell in and was forced to pay £150 on a replacement pair of glasses and buy a new phone.  As a legal secretary she has contacted Canal & River Trust for compensation.