I watched as machine mangled my leg

A FOOTBALL steward has told of the agonising decision he faces about whether to have his leg amputated after it was horrifically crushed in a conveyor belt accident.

A FOOTBALL steward has told of the agonising decision he faces about whether to have his leg amputated after it was horrifically crushed in a conveyor belt accident.

Nicky Emery, 24, is currently bed-bound at his parents' home in Clacton after the accident in August last year.

He was working at Westferry Printers in London when his leg became caught in a conveyor belt and was fed through a four-inch gap.

Mr Emery said: “I was in such shock that I didn't really feel it but it seemed to go on forever.

“One of my colleagues hit the emergency stop button and it seemed like hours before the emergency services arrived but in reality it only took 10 minutes.”

He had climbed onto machinery to free reels which had become stuck when his foot slipped and his leg started to feed through a four-inch gap.

Most Read

Mr Emery added: “I could see my leg feeding out the other side and it was completely mangled. I don't think I really knew what was happening.”

Surgeons at the Royal London Hospital battled to save his leg, which doctors initially said may have to be amputated.

“I can't believe what they did,” he added. “They've put all my bones back together and re-stitched the blood vessels - it's amazing.”

Mr Emery had been working as a forklift truck driver at the Daily Telegraph and Daily Express print works on the Isle of Dogs but had also taken on other responsibilities when the accident happened.

The part-time football steward now faces a tough decision about whether to have his leg amputated at the knee or endure a series of gruelling operations to fuse together the bones in his leg and foot.

He said: “I will eventually be able to walk on it but it will take years of operations and healing and I just want to get on with my life.

“At the moment I'm leaning towards amputation because the healing process will be much quicker and at least then I can see some kind of end to all this.

“My mum doesn't want me to have it amputated. She's finding it really hard and doesn't want any bit of me to be missing - it was hard enough for her when I lost three toes so I think she'll find it hard to cope if I'm minus a leg.

“I keep telling her I'm lucky to be here at all. People die of injuries like this and, to be honest, when it was happening I thought I was a goner.”

Mr Emery said he wanted to recover enough be able to go and see his beloved West Ham play at Upton Park, where he used to volunteer as a steward, and to go back to work.

He said: “I know it sounds really sad but I love being a forklift driver. My insurance company has said that there's a kind of forklift that I could drive if I have my leg amputated because apparently there are prosthetic legs which have hinged ankles.

“I always said that if I was ever made redundant I wouldn't go back to work but I'm itching to get back now - I'm getting fed up with watching Loose Women on daytime TV.”

The Health and Safety Executive said an investigation was still ongoing into the accident but they were unable to comment further.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter