Monday, January 7, 2008

Amazing escapes in runaway trailer drama

Amazing escapes in runaway trailer drama

A Young family yesterday had a "miraculous" escape when a runaway trailer crashed into their car before punching a hole in a factory wall in Dundee just feet from where staff were working.

The trailer, loaded with steel beams, ploughed into DC Thomson's building in Guthrie Street.

Staff in the book-binding department narrowly escaped as the 30ft trailer crashed through a wall.

One man jumped out of the way as it came through the glass and brick wall about 15ft from where he was standing, showering the shopfloor with debris at around 9am.

Ralph Crichton said: "I just heard this tremendous crash and turned round to see the trailer bursting through the wall. There were bricks and masonry everywhere, and a huge cloud of dust.

"I stood for a couple of seconds staring at it in disbelief and then jumped over the machine I was working at to get out of the way.

"There's another lad who works beside me but he had gone to the toilet. Fortunately, the trailer crashed through the wall between two machines. Having said that, there's also a desk where the trailer came through, and if anyone had been sitting at it they would have been badly injured or even killed."

The flat-bed trailer, which was not attached to a cab, caught a Fiat Punto a glancing blow. That appeared to have diverted it away from where Mr Crichton was.

The trailer had been parked in Horsewater Wynd, near to its junction with Guthrie Street. Shortly before the accident most of its steel beams had been offloaded at a nearby construction site.

As it crashed through the wall, the trailer just missed a load- bearing pillar. Workers said a direct hit on the pillar might have caused part of the floor above to collapse.

The young family in the Fiat escaped without injury but they were badly shaken.

Police said the trailer appeared to have suffered some sort of brake failure.

The city engineer declared the building structurally safe. The Health and Safety Executive was also notified.

A Tayside Police spokes-man said: "Miraculously, the occupants of the Fiat Punto, two adults and a child, escaped uninjured. Similarly, no members of staff at DC Thomson were injured."

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