Excavator used as improvised crane to rescue worker trapped in four metre hole near Chipping Norton

Firemen help lower the injured man onto a stretcher.
Firemen help lower the injured man onto a stretcher.

Firemen commandeered a excavator for use as an improvised crane to rescue a workman who fell into a hole on a construction site near Chipping Norton late yesterday evening (Monday).

Two fire engines from Hook Norton and Chipping Norton fire stations and a specialist rope rescue team from Kidlington Fire Station rushed to the scene of the accident on the Great Tew Estate at 9.21pm. They were joined by medics from South Central Ambulance Service.

The workman suffered a broken right leg from his fall.

The workman suffered a broken right leg from his fall.

They found the worker stranded at the bottom of the four-metre-deep pit with two broken bones in his lower right leg.

After setting up floodlights and testing the air quality at the bottom of the hole, emergency staff provided on site treatment before working with the operator of an excavator to rig up a rope lifting system to tether a basket stretcher to the underside of the excavator’s bucket. The excavator was then used to act as a crane to lift the workman out of the hole.

The Fire and Rescue Service incident commander, group manager David Bray said: “This was an excellent example of partnership working with our colleagues in South Central Ambulance Service, although an unusual incident all crews worked really well together to achieve a successful outcome as the incident required both specialist rescue knowledge, equipment and medical expertise.

“Our crews train regularly in a wide range of scenarios to prepare for these types of incidents, and this enabled them to quickly devise a plan to overcome the challenges faced at this incident.”