Phone hunt girl rescued from drain
A schoolgirl faces years of gentle ribbing for getting stuck in a storm drain while trying to retrieve her brand new mobile phone, her mother said.
Ella Birchenough, 16, tried to fish her two-week-old iPhone 5s from the drain using her feet after it slipped from her grasp in Eaves Road, Dover, Kent.
But she became stuck fast in front of a group of onlookers, including her mother, Joanne Birchenough, who rushed to the scene.
Firefighters eventually had to be called to ease GCSE student Ella out of the tight spot - before she dashed home to have a bath.
Mrs Birchenough joked that she will be bringing out the pictures of Ella waist-deep in the drain on her 18th birthday and wedding day.
Taxi firm worker Mrs Birchenough, 36, said: "I think it's the funniest thing. At first I panicked, thinking 'Oh my God, she's going to sink'.
"But when I saw her it made me laugh. She is upset about her phone, but at the end of the day at least she's alright."
Images of Ella stuck in the storm drain have been picked up by media worldwide, including in Canada and Australia.
But the schoolgirl's efforts proved to be in vain - because the phone, which was on a contract, is broken.
She told KentOnline: "I was talking to somebody and I went to put my phone in my pocket and it fell down the drain.
"I thought to myself, 'I'm not leaving this' and I jumped down to get it. I wasn't really even stuck, I just needed somebody to help lift me out but my mum got all panicky.
"When they pulled me out I ran straight home and jumped in the bath. I think it was just water but I wasn't taking any chances."
Mobile phone shop employee Tim Richards, 22, was driving home with his mother when he saw Ella up to her waist in the drain, and they pulled over.
He said: "It's not the type of thing you see every day. It was pretty weird. She was more concerned about getting her phone back rather than getting herself out of the drain."
Mr Richards said Ella at one point managed to inch herself out - but promptly went back in before becoming "completely stuck".
"My mum knows her mum and she went to call on her. She was a bit panicky thinking Ella was going to sink, but when she came down to see she saw the funny side," Mr Richards added.
He went on: "We tried to pull her out a couple of times but it wasn't happening. She was quite calm and relaxed and saw the funny side of it.
"The drain was no more than a foot-and-a-half both ways. How she thought she was going to get her phone, I have no idea."
A Kent Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said one fire engine was sent to deal with the incident at around 7.15pm yesterday.
He said: "A teenage girl was released by firefighters from a storm drain where she had become stuck in Eaves Road, Dover.
"Crews then made the scene safe. The girl was uninjured."