Teenage worker tells of horror accident

EXCLUSIVEBy James HoreA TEENAGE labourer has told how he escaped with just a crushed leg after being trapped under almost a tonne of steel.Russell Barnard also revealed how his brother, Scott, had been working at an ambulance service headquarters when the emergency call came in and was responsible for sending paramedics to his aid.

EXCLUSIVE

By James Hore

A TEENAGE labourer has told how he escaped with just a crushed leg after being trapped under almost a tonne of steel.

Russell Barnard also revealed how his brother, Scott, had been working at an ambulance service headquarters when the emergency call came in and was responsible for sending paramedics to his aid.


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The 17-year-old was working as a labourer on a Chelmsford building site when the steel fell about 5ft from a forklift truck, leaving him trapped and in agony.

The metal ripped a hole in Russell's left leg, which could only be released when a worker managed to lever the heavy scrap off.

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As the teenager lay in agony on the Waterhouse Lane building site, his brother, Scott, was working at the Essex Ambulance Service headquarters in the town.

When the emergency call came up on his screen, Scott realised it was his brother who had been seriously hurt, but remained calm enough to send an ambulance to the scene.

Speaking yesterday at his Chelmsford home after spending 12 days in hospital, Russell described how he thought the falling metal had ripped off his foot.

“The pain was unbelievable - I thought my leg had been shattered, it was trapped, but thankfully a workman managed to lever it off with a piece of wood and another pulled my leg free, so I am really grateful to them for that,” he said.

“My boot was hanging off and I thought it was my foot which had come off and I was screaming in pain - I was given 25mg of morphine and finished off the cylinder of gas the ambulance workers gave me.”

Amazingly, Russell escaped without a fracture, but has major muscle and tissue damage.

He underwent a major operation at Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsford, where doctors created a 6in by 3in cut to relieve the swelling and improve circulation to reduce the chances of having to amputate his leg.

A few days later Russell was given a skin graft on either side of his leg, with the tissue taken from his upper thigh.

Although his recovery is going well, the teenager remains in a lot of pain, is only able to walk with the aid of crutches and will probably be unable to work for months.

The former Chelmsford College student said he was not sure whether he could face returning to a building site after the accident, which happened on June 15.

“I will have to think about whether or not I go back on site again because when I was lying in the hospital, every time I heard things crashing around on a building site outside it was bringing it all back to me,” he added.

His brother, Scott, 21, said he had realised something could be wrong when the address of the building site came up on his screen at ambulance headquarters.

“I saw the call come in and recognised the address and then his name came up - all I knew was that he had crush injuries to his leg,” he recalled.

“I was very panicky, but sent an ambulance and then I went to the hospital and, because it is only round the corner, was waiting there for him when he arrived.”

Scott, who has worked for Essex Ambulance Service for two-and-a-half years, said he would not forget the emergency call in a hurry.

A spokesman for the Health and Safety Executive said it had been notified of the incident, but a decision had not yet been taken on whether the case would be pursued.

james.hore@eadt.co.uk

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