A woman has been seriously hurt after she fell 9ft into a beck when she was walking with her family in County Durham.
Emergency services rushed to help the lady who had fallen while out on a walk with her son and grandson, in a field near Littletown Farm Cottages, Littletown.
When fire crews from Peterlee arrived at the scene, at 10.45am this morning, it was clear that woman was seriously injured, crew manager Graham Chaytor said.
"She had fallen into a beck, which was 9ft underground," Mr Chaytor said.
"She had been walking with her son and grandson when she didn't see the hole and she fell. She had neck, spine and head injuries.
"It was quite clear that she was in a bad way when we got there, as she was drifting in and out of consciousness.
"We had to do what we call a snatch rescue, to get her out as soon as possible. Luckily the ambulance got there within 15 minutes."
A North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) spokeswoman said they had received the initial call at 10.20am.
However, it was later upgraded to a higher priority, when it became clear the woman needed more urgent help.
"She had fallen in fields across from Littletown Farm cottages," the spokeswoman added.
"The patient had fallen down a bank and into some water.
"We dispatched two crews, including a HART (Hazardous Area Response Team), and a double-crewed vehicle as well.
"Police and the fire service were there assisting, when extricated, she was taken to UHND (University Hospital North Durham)."
The woman was later transferred to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary due to the seriousness of her injuries.