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Father saves son after 10-foot plunge into sewage

An Albuquerque father who saved his little boy's life after he fell in an open manhole is demanding changes from the City of Albuquerque.

It has been almost a week since the accident, and city officials said the manhole covers at the Lead Improvement Project would not change.

Despite the construction, residents in the area continue to walk, run and bike on the torn-up street just south of the University of New Mexico.

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The area is an active construction zone, and an open manhole full of sewage almost killed a 5-year-old boy.

"We could have lost him out here,” Bob Anderson said. “We could have lost me, could have lost him because there is no way out of these things.”

Anderson has not stopped replaying the accident in his mind since it happened.

He said his 5-year-old son was running a few feet ahead of him and his wife when the boy suddenly plunged down a 10-foot manhole filled with sewage.

"My only thought was get to him as fast as possible. I just ran and jumped in right behind him," Anderson said.

He said he and his son both went under as sewage filled their mouths.

When they bobbed back up, his wife was able to grab the boy and then help her husband.

"I haven't felt good. I've been to the emergency room a couple of times from some kind of bacteria," he said.

Added patrols
Anderson has also been checked back on the street to see if the city made any changes.

But he found the same sheets of steel just sitting on top of the holes.

"We really want to take some time and thank the family and the father for being brave enough for going in after his little boy and saving him, because this could have been a horrible story," Mark Motsko, Albuquerque Department of Municipal Development spokesman said.

Motsko said the city cannot change the covers because anything heavier would be a hazard to get off if there was an accident.

Instead, the city has increased patrols in the area.

"We've added an inspector all weekend from now until the project is complete to go up and down twice a day on the weekends to make sure that the covers are in place and that the barrels are also in place," Motsko said.

Motsko advises residents to stay off the street during the construction project.

The project should be completed in the spring.

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