The incident unfolded as Alexa Longueria, 15, was walking on Victor Boulevard with a friend Thursday evening. Authorities claim the teen was sending a text, when she suddenly felt the ground give way beneath her feet.
After the fall - which was about four or five feet - the teen told reporters that a couple of apologetic DEP workers who witnessed the incident ran to her side and helped her crawl out of the hole.
Longeuria was rushed to Staten Island University Hospital where she was treated for scrapes on her arm and back. Her mother, Kim Longueria, said doctors are worried about possible spine damage and as a result Alexa will have to undergo a follow-up MRI in the coming week.
Kim Longueria was reportedly told by workers, who were working on a sewer line at the time, that they had left the open manhole for a short while as they went to get cones from the truck. Under department protocol, workers are supposed to block off construction areas to pedestrians or mark them with warning signs.
Contrary to what reports are claiming, the teen's mother said her daughter was not texting at the time of the incident.
In a telephone interview with PIX News, Kim Longueria said a friend was handing her teen daughter a cell phone, when she suddenly fell into the manhole.
"DEP workers learn safety first ... but there was no safety measures put into place here," Longueria said.
The Longeuria family said they plan to file a lawsuit.
For its part, the Department of Environmental Protection said a probe has been launched into the incident and released a statement saying, "We regret that this happened and wish the young woman a speedy recovery."