Hero saves farmer from pit horror

PUBLISHED: 12:21 04 May 2006 | UPDATED: 10:09 06 May 2010

Andrew Hunter (right) and David Bradshaw by the cesspit opening now covered with a flagstone

Andrew Hunter (right) and David Bradshaw by the cesspit opening now covered with a flagstone

A farmer celebrated cheating death in a cess-pit by drinking a glass of champagne with the man who saved his life. I never thought a drink could taste so wonderful, said Andrew Hunter, 51, as he rested at his home off Bedford Road, near Henlow after dis

A farmer celebrated cheating death in a cess-pit by drinking a glass of champagne with the man who saved his life.

"I never thought a drink could taste so wonderful," said Andrew Hunter, 51, as he rested at his home off Bedford Road, near Henlow after dislocating his shoulder during the ordeal.

Mr Hunter, married with three children, fell into the farm pit and was trapped for over an hour before he was rescued by David Bradshaw who heard his cries for help almost a quarter of a mile away.

Mr Bradshaw, a civilian employee at RAF Henlow where he lives with his wife Joanna, had gone into his garden on Monday last week to cut the lawn when he heard Mr Hunter's faint yells for help coming across the fields.

He immediately alerted the emergency services and raced to the farm in his car with his wife who is an ex-nurse.

At the farm Mr Bradshaw, 53, found Mr Hunter trapped in the cess pit up to his neck in sewage and in danger of drowning.

Using a ladder and rope, Mr Bradshaw pulled the farmer to safety and gave him first aid as he was suffering from hypothermia.

Mr Hunter was later taken to Lister Hospital for treatment.

"David saved my life. He is a hero. I thought I was going to die," said Mr Hunter.

"When I heard David responding to my cries for help it was the best thing I have ever heard.

"I must also pay tribute to Ruth Gilbert, the wife of my farm worker Martin, who guided David to where I might be.

"As I stood there in the dark up to my neck in muck I wondered whether there was enough oxygen to keep me conscious. I just kept hoping someone would hear me. It was hell."

Mr Hunter added: "There was a blockage in the sewage system at the farm and I was waiting for engineers when I went to try and locate where the lid of the pit was.

"I just fell in. The flagstone that was the lid might have become damaged by frost. I stopped falling deeper by my foot hitting a ledge sticking out from the side of the pit.

"My shoulder was killing me and I just kept yelling, praying someone would hear me and then David came along."

Mr Bradshaw said: "He was lucky to survive. One slip and he would have fallen deeper into the pit."

The two families had a champagne dinner three days after Andrew's ordeal.

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