Miracle in the moat: Boy, 3, is saved after castle fall that saw him spend TWO MINUTES underwater

  • Quade Ballinger wandered into the water at Nunney Castle in Frome, Somerset
  • He was pulled out by members of his family and given CPR by grandmother
  • Castle has now been closed by English Heritage, which is investigating incident

A boy of three miraculously survived after accidentally plunging into a castle’s deep moat and being submerged for two minutes.

Quade Ballinger wandered into the water at Nunney Castle in Frome, Somerset, on Saturday after mistaking its algae-covered surface for grass.

He was eventually pulled out by members of his family and given CPR by his grandmother, a nurse, before being taken to hospital. The 14th-century castle has now been closed by English Heritage, which is investigating the incident.

Quade’s father Nick Ballinger described the terrifying incident.

Quade Ballinger wandered into the water at Nunney Castle in Frome, Somerset, on Saturday after mistaking its algae-covered surface for grass

The family had enjoyed a picnic at the site and then went for a walk around the grounds.

But Mr Ballinger, from Southwick, Wiltshire, said: ‘As any parent will tell you, children require constant supervision. Like most boys, my three-year-old son Quade is full of mischief and adventure. In the 20 seconds that I had my back to my little boy he had fallen into the moat. The moat was covered in a thick, green weed which masked any noise and movement.’

Mr Ballinger said it was Quade’s cousin Daniel Britton, ten, who noticed the boy was missing and raised the alarm. The father added: ‘I think we all did at least one lap around the castle perimeter. Leaving only one place Quade could be – in the water. We believe he thought the moat was grass.’

He said he and his ‘incredible’ brother-in-law Mark Britton, then jumped into the water. ‘As I began to fear the worst suddenly I saw Mark holding my son,’ Mr Ballinger said. ‘Limp, pale and blue in the face, he was not breathing. He had spent the best part of two minutes under water.’

The family had enjoyed a picnic at the site and then went for a walk around the grounds. The 14th-century castle has now been closed by English Heritage, which is investigating the incident

Quade’s grandmother Jayne then gave him CPR. The former nurse, who spent 41 years in the profession, is still recovering from Covid, having spent six weeks in hospital at the beginning of the year.

Mr Ballinger added: ‘She resuscitated him. I owe her everything.’

Quade’s mother Lauren Pinkett later uploaded a photo of him to social media. She said: ‘Fluid has reduced on Quade’s left lung and [he] is on a course of antibiotics. He is doing remarkably well and is no longer on oxygen. It has been a very long three days.’

Nunney Castle, which dates back to the 1370s, is free to visit but there are no staff present on a daily basis. An English Heritage spokesman said it was ‘taking this incident very seriously’, adding: ‘The charity… is looking at what steps can be taken to prevent something like this happening again. Our hearts go out to the young boy and all his family.’

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