Published: 00:00, 03 April 2014
Schoolgirl Ella Birchenough landed in a hole lot of trouble when she dropped her phone in a drain - and got stuck trying to retrieve it.
The 16-year-old's iPhone slipped out of sight when she went to put it in her pocket while chatting to a friend next to her.
Ella lifted off the heavy drain cover of the roadside drain and then entered the hole feet-first.
But within seconds the teen found herself stuck fast and unable to pull herself out of the tight spot in Dover.
She called to a passerby and asked her to alert her mother Joanne at their home nearby.
Joanne, 36, dashed to the scene and then dialled 999 and three firefighters turned up to gently pull the red-faced schoolgirl free.
Ella, a GCSE student at Astor College for the Arts, said: "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 need 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.
"I was just laughing the whole time, I have seen the funny side of it. You just have to laugh along with it.
"There have been a few nasty comments about me being fat which isn't nice but I'm trying not to take it to heart."
Joanne, a taxi operative with Dover Royal Taxis, who also has an eight-year-old son Ben, said: "I was really worried. My face went white and I was in a panic.
"I was scared she might sink.
"I thought to myself 'I'm not leaving this' and I jumped down to get it" - Ella Birchenough
"I ran out the house, turned the corner - but as soon as I saw her I burst out laughing.
"I thought 'we are never going to get her out of there' so I called the fire service who got there pretty quickly.
"We are going to have to replace the phone but I'm not too angry. Worst case scenario is she ends up with an old Nokia.
"She is never going to live this down now. We will be bringing it out at her 18th birthday and her wedding.
"But worse things can happen then getting stuck in a drain."
Witness Mike Snelling, 71, said a crowd quickly gathered around Ella as she struggled to free herself.
He said: "There was a bit of a crowd around her.
"She had got stuck trying to get her phone but she was laughing and joking."
A Kent Fire and Rescue spokesman said: "A teenage girl was released by firefighters from a storm drain where she had become stuck.
"Crews then made the scene safe. The girl was uninjured."
Ella may have escaped the drain drama at 7pm on Wednesday unhurt - but her rescue attempt was in vain as her phone was recovered broken.
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