Friday, 1 April 2011

Tight Squeeze

Man Survives Being Pulled Through Tiny Gap

A factory worker says he is lucky to be alive after being dragged through a 5in gap in machinery that left him with serious injuries

Matthew Lowe, 25, had his back broken in two places, his pelvis shattered, both hips and several ribs fractured and his stomach and bowel ruptured.

While he was going through the gap, measuring the size of a CD case, the only sound he heard was his right arm snapping.

Now, two years after the event, the father-of-one's only visible sign of injury is a weakened right arm.

"I still don't know how I didn't die," Mr Lowe, from Barnsley, South Yorkshire, said.

"As the machine dragged me through I just relaxed because I knew I couldn't do anything and I thought that was the end for me."

He added: "I felt the machine grab me and at that point I knew something serious was going to happen.

"I never felt pain, the only thing I felt was my arm snap - and then it was over in seconds."

Astonishingly, the machine eventually deposited him on the floor with his clothes in tatters.

He said he remembered lying on the floor, trying to breathe, and being determined not to leave his young daughter Evie growing up without a father.

"I just thought, I’ve got to get through this for my little girl, she can't grow up without a dad, so I just lay there and did my best."

It was then that the pain hit him and other workers raced to help him after hearing his screams.

He was rushed to hospital where surgeons initially stabilised him and later operated.

In all, he spent a month in hospital and had to have six operations to pin his broken limbs back together again.

Mr Lowe, who was working at Compass Engineering's factory at Barugh near Barnsley - the firm he had joined as a school leaver - is now back at work at the company and training to be a site supervisor.

The company is due before magistrates in Barnsley to answer allegations over health and safety.

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