Pensioner inches from death after chimney crush


By Rory Reynolds

A GREAT-grandfather was nearly killed after a concrete chimney block fell from a rooftop and landed on him.

David Hay was nearly flattened when the large piece of masonry fell 45ft and landed on his shoulder.

The 69-year-old managed to crawl towards the building to avoid being hit again as pieces of stone landed on the ground around him.

The former St Andrew’s House security officer said he was “lucky to be alive” after he was nearly killed when walking with his shopping in the Tollcross area of Edinburgh.

He said: “I had been at the shops to get my messages and was walking back along the road.

“Suddenly something heavy struck me in the shoulder and arm – I thought the sky was falling in.

“I was knocked to my knees on the pavement and saw my shopping flying in front of me.

“I could see bits of the masonry scatter onto the street.

“I was in a daze but I crawled to the side of the wall and hung onto the drainpipe because I didn’t know if anything else was falling.”

Fire crews arrived and cordoned of much of the street while paramedics treated David for severe bruising.

He said: “The doctors treated my arm, which was swelling up quite badly by then.

“Then I was walking to the toilet and I collapsed again to my knees – it must have been the shock.

”That was when the doctors decided to scan my head and heart, but I was able to leave a few hours later.

“I think I’m lucky to be alive. If the masonry had hit me in the head I think my number would have been up.

“I don’t know how much masonry fell, but it was enough to knock me to my knees.

“If it had hit my head instead I don’t think I would be standing here today.”

A spokeswoman for Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue confirmed that fire crews had used a turntable ladder to reach the roof and prevent any more loose debris from falling.

The incident, which occurred last Friday afternoon, is not the first time masonry has fallen from a city centre building in Edinburgh.

In 2000 Australian waitress Christine Foster was killed outside Ryan’s bar in the West End after being hit by falling concrete.

A spokesman for Edinburgh City Council said: “In light of this incident, we will be contacting the owners of the property to discuss what happened and ensure it is safe.”