A man who fell down a "sinkhole" fears a child could have drowned if they had fallen into the hidden hazard.

Steven Rushton said he struggled to get out, despite being 6ft 2ins, and that water came up to his chest and there was quicksand at the bottom.

The 62-year-old fell into the hole while walking along the sea shore at Middle Chine beach in Bournemouth.

His beach stroll scare happened a week before the Bank Holiday weekend, when people are likely to visit the Dorset sun trap in good weather.

'It was like I'd fallen off the world'

"It just happened so suddenly, it was like I'd fallen off the world," he told our sister title the Bournemouth Echo.

"It took my knees from under me and after I managed to stand up the water must have come up to in between my stomach and my chest.

"It was lethal, there was quicksand at the bottom as well, my feet just sank in about 18 inches."

'A little kid could have easily drowned'

Steve admitted being rattled by the sudden fall.

He said: "To tell you the truth it scared me because I was wondering what the hell had happened.

"It happened so suddenly.

"A little kid could have easily drowned."

What happened when Steve fell in?

He explained it was a Saturday afternoon (April 24) and he had just been to the toilet at Durley Chine.

He said: "Afterwards, I was walking back along the promenade and I thought I'd walk along the sea shore instead, as it was such a nice day.

"I was walking along the shore and the tide was just starting to come in, the water was about two inches deep.

"I was walking along and all of a sudden I fell into this bloody huge hole.

"If I wasn't so tall I would have had a hell of a job to get out.

"I managed to lift myself out but it wasn't easy, it was just like quicksand at the bottom.

"It was pretty quiet – a bloke came running over and told me his dog had fallen into it earlier and he had to pull his dog out."

'Bloody huge hole' should be 'filled in'

Steve, who had already contacted BCP Council with his concerns, says people should be aware of the danger.

He says it needs to be filled in or cordoned off on safety grounds.

Steve escaped uninjured in the drama, but has been left with an £80 bill for his mobile phone which suffered water damage.

Good news despite scare

Despite falling into the hole, the day also brought some good news for Steve.

He said the fall came just after a call from his son.

He said: "Me and my wife were on the beach getting a bit of sun.

"We'd just had a phone call from our eldest son at about 2pm, telling us we had become grandparents."

It was then that Steve walked to the Durley Chine toilet and on the way back he had his fall.

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