UPDATE: Miracle escape for elderly woman after car overturns as Poole's Twin Sails bridge is lifting (From Bournemouth Echo)
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UPDATE: Miracle escape for elderly woman after car overturns as Poole's Twin Sails bridge is lifting
AN elderly motorist had a miracle escape after her car smashed through safety barriers and jumped across Poole’s Twin Sails Bridge as it was lifting.
The 86-year-old drove through the barriers at around 20mph while the red warning lights were flashing, and ended up flipping her car onto its roof on the other side.
Image from Alex Evans
Quick-thinking bridge operators managed to stop the Twin Sails from rising any further after she ploughed through the barriers, but there wasn’t enough time to return the leaves to the horizontal position before the Renault Clio jumped across.
The pensioner, who only suffered minor injuries, was put onto a spinal board as a precaution and taken to Poole Hospital for treatment.
A Dorset Police spokesman told the Daily Echo: “All the flashing lights were on and the barriers had come down. Witnesses said she’s come right through the barrier at about 15-20mph as the bridge was opening.
“They immediately stopped opening the bridge but she’s carried on driving up the ramp and that’s flipped her over onto her roof. Luckily she’s only sustained minor injuries.”
Image from Alex Evans
Emergency services were called around 11.30am.
Firefighters and paramedics worked to safely remove the Poole woman from her car, which was travelling towards Poole from the Hamworthy side of the bridge. There was no-one else travelling with her.
A Dorset Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: “We secured the vehicle to stabilise it, to stop the casualty moving about. There was about seven foot between the car and the edge of the bridge.”
Police closed the bridge while the rescue operation took place, and it remained closed to traffic - to enable engineers to mend the broken safety barrier – until around 3pm.
Neil Wilson, who was passing by close to the time of the accident, said: “There was a car on its roof on the Poole side, but is a bit weird because it is on the other side of the barrier.
“There were about five police cars, plus a fire engine and an ambulance, and there were firemen gathered around the car on the bridge.”
Another witness, who asked not to be named, said: “It’s really lucky she’s not been more seriously hurt. To be honest, I first thought it was a boy racer trying to jump across. It must have given the bridge operator one hell of a shock.”
Julian McLaughlin, Head of Transportation Services, Borough of Poole, said: “The Twin Sails Bridge has re-opened to traffic and is operating normally following a traffic incident earlier today.
“The incident occurred as the Twin Sails Bridge started its scheduled lift at 11.30am. We have reviewed CCTV footage captured at the time and can confirm the bridge lifting sequence was operating normally, including the warning lights and barrier system.
“Following the incident, the bridge operator alerted emergency services, engineers and traffic management staff. The approach roads to the bridge were closed while the emergency services attended the incident.
“An initial inspection revealed only superficial damage to the bridge and following safety tests it re-opened to traffic shortly after 3pm. We would like to thank road users for their patience during this incident.”
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