Woman thought she was going to die on night out after stepping into hole she thought was a puddle
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A mum said her life flashed before her eyes after she accidentally stepped into a sinkhole, thinking it was a puddle.
Laura Gerber went for a night out in Watford last Saturday (11 March) and things took a dramatic turn when she stepped out of a car into a seemingly innocuous puddle.
In a flash, she had disappeared down the 10ft hole, 'massively injuring' her back on the way down.
As you can imagine, there was a lot of laughter in the moment, but it turned out to be more serious than it initially seemed.
"After gasping for breath under the water and somewhat managing to keep myself afloat I managed to gain strength and pull myself up," Laura wrote on Facebook.
"All that I was thinking in those moments was that this is the end."
She added: "If I had hit my head instead of my back and lost consciousness I would've gone under and due to the current below I would've gotten completely lost and never been found again."
While the risk of drowning was immediately apparent, Laura subsequently learnt of further dangers her fall had presented.
In her public service announcement about the perils of puddles, she said: "After sitting in A&E half of the day, having multiple tests, bloods taken, X-rays, injections and antibiotics I have now learnt about leptospirosis [a bacterial disease that can be caused by rats' urine]. This can be life-threatening.
"All I ask is if ever you come into contact with sewage PLEASE be seen immediately.
"All parents out there PLEASE make sure you don't let your kids jump into puddles if you can't see the bottom of it.
"You never know how deep something is if you can't see the bottom. This hole literally looked just like a pot hole with a puddle in it from the rain."
Laura's boyfriend, Jason Topping, told the Watford Observer 'her whole head went under and she swallowed sewage water', adding that if she hadn't managed to stick her arms out and hold on to the side, he 'probably wouldn't have a girlfriend here today'.
"I've always used the saying about life flashing before your eyes but honestly, my life has never flashed before my eyes like this before," Laura wrote.
"Please make sure you keep an eye when going slashing in puddles and make sure this doesn't happen to anyone else."