Dad Issues Warning After Mistaking Weeds For Grass And Falling In Canal
A father and son have issued a warning after they mistook weeds for grass and fell into a canal.
Steve Worthington was shocked - to say the least - when he and his 11-year-old son, Lewis, stepped straight into the waterway at Walsall's Waterfront.
The 41-year-old had to battle to save his son and keep his head above the water as the pair desperately tried to clamber to safety.
Speaking to the Birmingham Mail, Mr Worthington said there were no signs alerting them to the danger.
He said: "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 - it looks just like grass and at night concrete.
"The water was freezing cold and we must have gone under quite a few times, it was so scary. We must have been struggling for like five minutes."
Mr Worthington, of Wednesbury, said he has had nightmares following the plunge and that his young son is now mentally scarred by the ordeal.
He also claims that the Canal & River Trust, who are in charge of the waterway near to the site, asked if they wanted to claim for damages.
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The dad added: "When I told them about the fall they asked me if I wanted to claim for damages but that isn't why I messaged them - I just want something done before someone dies.
"I don't want a lady in a pram to walk in or a little child to fall in because it could be so much worse. I'm really hoping something gets done before something bad happens."
A spokesman for the Canal & River Trust said: "We're really sorry to hear that Mr Worthington fell into the canal at the Walsall Basin. Although not seriously injured, it must have been awful experience and we hope he makes a speedy recovery.
"We are aware that there is a problem with an overgrowth of weed in the Basin which can make it seem as though the area is covered in thick grass, hiding the water underneath.
"Safety signs have been installed at the Basin warning people of the danger. Removing the weed is an ongoing battle and there will be a team from Canal & River Trust out in the Basin to clear sections of the weed in the next few days."
The weeds have been since been cleared but Rebecca Whitehouse, from charity Canal & River Trust, warned it would likely be back soon.
She said: "This weed is a ferocious grower and, as soon as we've cleared it, it grows back in a matter of days. Not only does the weed create a hazard as people and pets get confused thinking its grass, but it is also really costly to remove.
"We have recently carried out some large scale weed removal in the Brownhills and we think some small bits of weed may have floated down the canal into the Basin.
"We are working closely with our ecologists to try and increase water movement into the Basin in an effort to disperse the weed and will be back out again in the next few days to start removing it.
She added: "If any local people want to lend a hand and help us remove the weed then please get in touch. We think it will take around four days to remove so if you're free between the October 28 - 31 and want to volunteer your time to help then please get in touch."
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