The family of a toddler have spoken out after their son fell into a ditch at an English heritage site in Somerset.
Quade Ballinger, 3, fell into the water at Nunney Castle in Frome after believing it to be grass and remained underwater for about two minutes as his family searched for him, fearing the worst.
English Heritage said it was taking the incident “very seriously” and had temporarily closed the site while the organization investigates.
READ MORE: English Heritage ‘shuts down’ Nunney Castle after 3-year-old boy falls into moat in ‘one-second’ accident
Dad of four, Nick, 32, said he visits the attraction with most of his family, including his second eldest daughter Aubree; Quad; her sister and husband, Sam and Mark Britton; their two children; and his parents, Jayne and Brian Ballinger.
They had come from Southwick, near Burnham-on-Sea, to visit the castle for the day.
Quade can be seen on his father’s shoulders as they cross the bridge over the moat, which is covered with thick green algae and weeds. (Photo: Nick Ballinger)
Remembering when he realized his son was in the water, Nick said: “We were inside the castle, I was with him, he was looking at one of the tiny little windows, he was right next to it. about myself and I was talking to my mom.
“It must have been 15 seconds, and my nephew Daniel, said he ‘couldn’t see Quade’ so we ran around the castle and that’s when the panic started to set in. .
“We realized it must be in the water, my brother-in-law started looking but the algae on top means you can’t see in the water.
“I’m not sure what he saw, but that’s where we chose to step in and I followed and that’s when we found him.
“It was thick, I jumped in with my eyes open and it’s water so dirty you couldn’t see anything. It was sheer luck that we found it, so we jumped out of it. ‘other side, we wouldn’t have found it. “
Three-year-old Quade was spending a day with most of his family when tragedy nearly struck (Image: Nick Ballinger)
He added: “It’s crazy that the number of people that were there… no one heard or saw it, it’s almost like the moss or the grass is so dense and thick… there was no noise, no movement, no splash, it shows how deadly this can be. “
Quade’s family and the English Heritage site believe Quade entered the water thinking it was grass.
“The kids are naive,” Nick said, “the grass is green and they’re lower down and think it’s just a fun place to play. He’s not a silly boy, he’s not going to jump in. water fully clothed, he knows it wrong.
“We showed the moat to other kids and asked them what they thought it was and they said ‘grass’.”
Quade was in the water for about two minutes when it was removed. Fortunately, a member of the public called an ambulance as soon as they saw the men jump into the water.
Quade and his father Nick, who jumped into the moat with his brother-in-law Mark Britton to find the toddler (Image: Nick Ballinger)
His grandmother, a nurse for 41 years, recently released herself from the hospital after six weeks of suffering from Covid-19 at the start of the year, resuscitated him when the ambulance arrived.
Nick’s niece Lily then selflessly donated her sweater to help Quade warm up.
Concerned about the secondary drowning and fluid in his lungs, the healthcare team called Wiltshire Air Ambulance to take Nick and his son to Bristol Children’s Hospital.
Nick said: “It was so cold. I don’t really remember much of the flight because it was so cold, he was shaking, when we got him to the helicopter it was really hot there. -in it and he fell asleep in my arms.
“That’s when it hit me and the panic set in, it hit me what had happened. I’m usually not a crying person but all the theft i ‘was in tears. “
Quade Ballinger, a 3 year old boy who fell into the moat (pictured) at Nunney Castle in Somerset thinking it was grass. (Photo: Nick Ballinger)
Quade’s mother, Lauren, was away with friends when the accident happened. As soon as they heard, they all ran back to be with the family.
Looking ahead, Nick said he and Lauren wanted to make as much awareness as possible about the dangers of covered water like that in the castle.
He said: “Now we have had a few days to deal with what happened and we know it will be fine and it will not have any lasting damage. We want to educate other families because in a year from now, if it happened again, something fatal could happen and you will never forgive yourself.
“Even if we make a difference for a person or a family, this is what we strive to do. One of our neighbors who we have only known for a few months shared it on Facebook and we are overwhelmed with the response. . This is such a simple and costly mistake. “
The family want to raise money for Wiltshire Air Ambulance (Image: Nick Ballinger)
Nick also added that the family would like to thank the care they received from the ambulance team and the Wiltshire Air Ambulance (WAA).
He said: “You never think you will need this service until you do and we are extremely grateful to them.
“He’s had a remarkable recovery and he’s back terrorizing the dogs, which is a huge weight on my shoulders.”
In a fundraiser hosted by Lauren for WAA, she wrote: “Previously, I have raised funds for Wiltshire Air Ambulance for their exceptional rescue efforts 365 days a year. Never, like most others, have I never thought I would need it. Unfortunately, yesterday we did.
“The trauma and injury that we are all suffering right now is enormous. But it’s not worth thinking about if we hadn’t had an air ambulance at our disposal. It would have been a scenario that completely went away. changed our life.
“Donations, big or small, every penny counts. Thanks for saving our son. ”
Click here to donate.
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This notice was published: 2021-06-30 19:09:16