Worker falls from scaffolding at theatre

A WORKMAN was airlifted to hospital with serious head injuries after he fell 20ft from scaffolding while working at a Suffolk theatre.The accident, which happened just after 12 noon yesterday at the New Wolsey Theatre in Civic Drive, Ipswich, saw the 45-year-old painter fall while working in the building's auditorium, suffering a suspected fractured skull.

A WORKMAN was airlifted to hospital with serious head injuries after he fell 20ft from scaffolding while working at a Suffolk theatre.

The accident, which happened just after 12 noon yesterday at the New Wolsey Theatre in Civic Drive, Ipswich, saw the 45-year-old painter fall while working in the building's auditorium, suffering a suspected fractured skull.

Workmen have been at the theatre for the last two weeks as part of a £725,000 refurbishment and renovation project being carried out over the summer.

Police and ambulance crews, as well as a GP, were originally scrambled to the accident and the air ambulance was called in shortly afterwards.


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A community police officer, who passed the scene on a bike, called for a patrol car to help control traffic while the helicopter attended the incident.

The ambulance landed on the playground of nearby St Matthews Primary School, before taking the man - believed to be from Ipswich - to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridgeshire, which specialises in treating head injuries.

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Last night Dr Victor Inyang , an A&E consultant from the James Paget Hospital who was on board the helicopter for the first time, described the dramatic incident.

“We had a gentleman who had fallen 20ft and suffered quite a significant brain injury,” he said. “It appeared that he had suffered a fractured skull.

“He responded to voice, but he really didn't know where he was. Given the height of the fall and the appearance of his skull there was concern about bleeding inside the head.

“We gave him an anaesthetic and intubated him, before taking him off to Cambridge.”

An East of England Ambulance Service spokeswoman said the man suffered a “serious head injury.”

She added: “The man's condition was stabilised on scene before he was taken to the helicopter and then flown to the specialist head injury unit at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge.

“His condition on arrival at hospital was said to be stable and he was due to undergo a number of tests to establish the full extent of his injuries.

“Crews paid tribute to the excellent co-operation they had from Suffolk police.”

Sharon Jenkins, spokeswoman for The New Wolsey Theatre said yesterday that work had been suspended and there would be an investigation into the accident.

She added: “One of the workers who had been on scaffolding had come off the edge and landed on the steps where the seats usually are.

“The ambulance crew arrived incredibly quickly and decided he needed to go to Addenbrooke's. He was conscious and the ambulance crews were talking to him.”

Onlooker Bruce Wade, who saw the ambulance land, said: “The helicopter landed on the school playground. It was a pretty impressive sight - it hovered and circled to try and get as close as it could before the pilot managed to get it in there. It was pretty incredible really.”

Last night a spokeswoman for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) confirmed that they had launched an investigation into the incident.

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