Two North Down families were counting their blessings last week after the play date of two young girls in the fields opposite their homes almost ended in tragedy.
Last Wednesday (February 23), just before 7pm, the Fire and Rescue Service responded to the emergency call after the girls became trapped up to their waists in mud at Linen Lane, a development site in the Rathgill area.
A NIFRS spokesperson confirmed that crews from Bangor and Newtownards stations responded to a development site on Rathgill Parade where two girls had become trapped in deep mud.
“Both girls, aged 8 and 11, were released uninjured by firefighters who stated they were fortunate to be alive.
“The Health & Safety Executive are investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident.”
Mark Thompson, father of one of the girls, described the terrifying situation on his facebook site. He said: “My mates and myself tried to free them at first but we had resorted to the fire brigade — just as well as they were both up to their waists.
“Some of the fire officers who went in to rescue the girls got stuck in the mud too and had to dig each other out.
“It is a great ending to a scary situation. I would like to give a heartfelt thanks to the rescue |services.”
Karen Worrall, Rathgill community worker, said: “This could have been a terrible tragedy and my thoughts are with the parents of these children. The danger this patch of ground holds has been a major concern for local people for such a long time. This area isn’t sealed off and a real danger to children — it’s a tragedy waiting to happen.”
A PSNI spokesperson said: “Our advice to parents in this area is to make your children aware of danger areas such as this one and ensure they know to avoid it.
“This may be easier said than done but it is important we make sure there is no repeat as the next time the persons involved may not be so lucky.”