Air ambulance crew's dramatic rescue

By Lisa CleverdonTHE skills of an air ambulance crew were put to the test when they were called on to land in a busy street to treat a badly-injured builder.

By Lisa Cleverdon

THE skills of an air ambulance crew were put to the test when they were called on to land in a busy street to treat a badly-injured builder.

Horrified onlookers had watched on helplessly as the workman plummeted 20 feet to the ground after falling from scaffolding outside the Greyhound pub in Lavenham.

The builder, who has not been named, was being treated in hospital last night for suspected neck, arm, chest and abdominal injuries.

The drama unfolded just before noon yesterday at the pub, where Colchester-based firm Solo Scaffolding was working on renovations to the roof.

The injured man was treated by a doctor at the scene before the East Anglian Air Ambulance made its dramatic entrance to airlift him to West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds.

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One villager said: “I heard him scream and then there was a thud as he fell to the ground. I called the ambulance and doctors tried to control the situation as best they could until the emergency services arrived.

“There were a lot of people watching and I think the incident was very distressing for some people.

“The man was conscious, but was obviously in great pain because he was moaning and groaning as he lay on the ground, but thankfully the air ambulance crew acted very quickly and soon got him into the helicopter.”

Paramadic Dave Bennett, who attended the scene with colleague John Stone and pilot Nick Broad, said the dramatic landing at the junction of Water Street and the High Street had been “interesting”.

He added: “It is not that common to have to land in such a built-up area, but it is what we have been trained for and it was not too much of a problem.

“We enlisted the help of a van driver who blocked the road for us and we made sure the area was secure and safe before we attempted to land.

“When we got to the victim, he was being attended to by two doctors who happened to be passing at the time of the fall. We used specialist equipment to treat him before getting him into the air ambulance.”

James Alderton, manager of Colchester contracts firm H & R Strood Ltd, which sub-contracted Solo Scaffolding to carry out the work on the pub, said: “It is unclear at this point exactly what caused the man to fall off the scaffolding, but the incident will now be investigated in the normal way and will be referred to the Health and Safety Executive.”

A spokeswoman for the Health and Safety Executive said: “Investigations will be made into the exact cause of the accident and we will then decide if anyone is liable for prosecution.

“The construction industry is very dangerous and people need to take extra care.”

The owner of Solo Scaffolding declined to comment yesterday on the accident.

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