Close call: College students fall through flooded storm drain

(WCBD Photo)
(WCBD Photo)

CHARLESTON, SC – Three College of Charleston students say they were terrified after falling into a storm drain on their way to class Monday.

Grace Hall and her two friends say on Monday morning they fell down a flooded storm drain on their walk to class. “It was absolutely terrifying at the time. I had no idea what had happened and I just started freaking out and panicking,” said Hall.

Grace is a sophomore at The College and says every day she and her friends park at the aquarium’s parking garage and then they walk on Calhoun towards campus.

But on Monday, it was somewhat of a different commute.

Grace explained, “We were crossing the street, and at that point in time on the street corner, the water was up to my kneecaps…We couldn’t see the drain. We stepped right into it. I fell all the way down into the drain up to my neck in water. I never once touched bottom and neither did any of my friends.”

Grace’s friends jumped into the flood waters to help her. “My friend went to grab me and pull me out but she too fell into the hole. Once I got out, my friend Andrew went to grab her, but he also fell in.”

The students eventually climbed out and to safety; but their books, calculators, cell phones, clothes and other school supplies were all ruined.

Grace told WCBD, “It is damage that we can’t afford to pay right now.”

On Tuesday, WCBD took a closer look at the storm drain Grace and her friends fell into.

Grace’s parents say the students could have been killed. Lisa Hall, Grace’s mother, said, “When I found out about it I just started shaking because it scares me to think what could have happened.” Grace’s father, Robert Hall, said, “Things could’ve been so much worse. She could’ve been sucked down that drain.”

The city’s website allows residents to report problems with storm water drainage systems, but during floods like Charleston saw on Monday, the Hall family thinks preventative measures should be taken before anyone else is hurt.

Robert Hall said, “I think it could be weighted down or bolted in place.” Lisa added, “I just hope the city and the college both work together to try to come up with some kind of solution. Just keep all the kids safe, that’s the main thing.”

WCBD reached out to city police to ask about the storm drain that was uncovered. Charleston Police say they say they are looking into the problem.

Representatives from the College of Charleston say they will work with the students to help them replace damaged books.

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