25th August 2020

In_pictures Terror after girl falls 100ft down Llanberis waterfall

In_pictures Terror after girl falls 100ft down Llanberis waterfall

In_pictures

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Media caption“I fell in, sunk to the bottom, I saw fish and I started to cough”

The family of a girl who survived falling down a waterfall have spoken of their terror at seeing her plunge more than 100ft (30m).

Phoebe, six, was pulled from the water with hardly any injuries, despite being washed over the top and falling in what rescuers called “a genuine accident”.

The family, from near Chester, have called for better safety measures at Ceunant Mawr waterfall near Llanberis.

Gwynedd council said warning signs were already in place.

Phoebe’s mother’s partner Liam Bolland, who jumped into the water to try to save her, said the family had been very careful during their day out.

“I was taking pictures from the viewing area when I heard a horrible, horrible scream from my partner, Phoebe’s mother,” he said.

“I turned, and the look of terror on her face was horrendous.

“She shouted ‘she has fallen in’. I jumped in myself, unable to see her at all beneath the bubbling white water in the top pool.

Image copyright
Geograph / Richard Webb

Image caption

Phoebe’s family saw her slip over the edge of Ceunant Mawr waterfall

“When I hit the water the cold hit me and took my breath and I got pulled under too.

“I tried getting to her whilst trying to get myself above the water too. The water was dark, cold and loud.

“I tried so hard to get her, I really, really did. But I just couldn’t.”

Mr Bolland said he then heard Phoebe come up above the water – but go over the edge of the main waterfall.

“I could hear the screaming from my partner and son and the water bashing down next to me.

“I began shouting for help as I was now stuck too. I realised nobody could hear me and managed to pull myself out by climbing some tree roots.”

Other family members had also seen Phoebe go over the edge of the waterfall, and began shouting down to people by the lower pool where the water lands.

One man managed to get into the water and pull her out – in shock, but physically unharmed other than some bruises.

“She is an amazing little girl,” Mr Bolland said.

“She has a couple of small bruises and a bit of a scrape on her arm.

“We have spoken about it quite clearly and she remembers a lot of it – falling, being under the water, seeing the rocks, going down.

“I hugged the man who got her from the water when I thanked him.”

Image copyright
Family picture

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Phoebe pictured in hospital after the incident earlier this month

Phoebe was taken by ambulance to Bangor’s Ysbyty Gwynedd to be checked over.

The family has returned to the waterfall since the accident to try to work out what happened, and to see if there were any warning signs that they had missed.

“We have talked this over again and again,” Mr Bolland said.

“Phoebe’s mum says that they were by the top pool and Phoebe bent down, lost her balance and fell backwards. Mum was two feet away from her.

“All we can think is that some vegetation or dead leaves must have been covering a dip in the rock that no-one had seen.”

Image copyright
Gwynedd Council

Image caption

The council said warning signs were in place near the waterfall

Mr Bolland called for the area to be assessed for safety.

He said: “It’s a busy area. When we went back, there were lots of people, and the ground was wet and slippery.

“There’s no life belts by the bottom pool. Considering the sheer drops, I think that’s awful.”

The public footpaths and land next to the waterfall are not council-owned.

A Gwynedd council spokesman said: “Land adjacent to the waterfall itself is not owned by Gwynedd Council, nor any public footpaths looking down on the waterfall. This is a very uneven area and there are signs warning of potential hazards.

“There is an old vantage point near the road, and whilst the views are impaired by trees, it is far safer than venturing to the edge of the waterfall.

“In terms of the pool at the bottom of the waterfall, we urge members of the public to take care in this area and not to enter the water.

“Numerous warning signs are in place in that area which is managed by the council urging members of the public not to swim or bathe in the water.”

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