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Boy crushed by electric gate

PUBLISHED: 16:56 26 May 2010

Three year old Luca Mills who got stuck in an electronic gate at Churchman's Loft, Ipswich with his mother Cathrin

Three year old Luca Mills who got stuck in an electronic gate at Churchman's Loft, Ipswich with his mother Cathrin

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IPSWICH: A probe is under way today after miracle mite Luca Soiland-Mills escaped death in a horrific crushing incident.

Three year old Luca Mills who got stuck in an electronic gate at Churchman's Loft, Ipswich

The three-year-old became trapped by an electric gate which pinned him in an 8cm gap against a wall.

The youngster hadn’t noticed the sliding gate was closing when part of the metal structure caught his foot, dragged him against a wall and started to crush him.

His father, Robin Soiland-Mills, 38, said: “It was a totally surreal incident – to watch your son helpless and in pain was horrible.

“The paramedics have told me he is lucky to be alive – it’s a miracle that he only suffered bruising.”

Three year old Luca Mills who got stuck in an electronic gate at Churchman's Loft, Ipswich with his mother Cathrin

Mr Soiland-Mills and several friends frantically tried to free the screaming toddler and smashed an electric panel next to the gate to try to stop it operating.

Luca was trapped for around three minutes before Mr Soiland-Mills and a group of friends were able to winch the gate back to free him using a crow bar and brute strength.

Luca is now back at home recovering and it’s hoped that the bruising he suffered will soon clear up.

Mr Soiland-Mills, his wife Cathrin and their daughter Calista-Rose, five, all 
witnessed the drama unfold outside their home at the Churchman’s Lofts Apartments in Portman Road on Sunday evening.

He added: “We were having a barbecue with friends and Luca was standing next to the gate when it began to close.

“We shouted to him but he couldn’t hear us. The gate is silent and he didn’t see it coming until it was too late.”

Mr Soiland-Mills added he was planning to move out of the complex because of the incident.

He said: “We’ve been here for over a year, it’s a modern complex, but I can’t believe that in this day an age an incident like this could happen.

“The gate didn’t appear to have a stop button – that’s why I smashed the electrics panel, I had no other choice.

“We’ve decided to move out. Every time I look at the gate it brings it all flooding back and I can’t risk it happening again.”

A spokesman for Brace Force, the company that maintains the gate, said an investigation into the incident was being carried out.

n Have you survived a terrifying ordeal? Tell us your story. Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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