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Ladder fall guy bounces back

PUBLISHED: 16:58 27 July 2001 | UPDATED: 10:23 03 March 2010

A FORMER Royal Marine and a member of the crack French Foreign Legion is counting his lucky starts after plunging 30ft off a ladder.

A FORMER Royal Marine and a member of the crack French Foreign Legion is counting his lucky starts today after plunging 30ft off a ladder.

Barry Scott escaped with just a few bumps and bruises as he fell headlong to the ground while carrying out some work on the roof of a house.

The 33-year-old said it was his military training which saved the day and as an ambulance arrived at the scene in Henley, near Ipswich, he dusted himself up and went straight back up the ladder to complete the job.

The accident happened yesterday afternoon when Mr Scott, who works for Everlast Plastics, in Barham, was putting up soffits on a house in Gascoigne Drive.

He leaned over a bit too far and the ladder – which had safety feet – fell beneath him. He hit the porch then plunged to the ground with the ladder on top of him.

But amazingly he was virtually unscathed.

Mr Scott, who lives in Foden Avenue, in Ipswich, said: "The accident could have been a lot more serious than it was. I leant over too far and down the ladder went. My initial thought when the ladder was moving was "oh no".

"I thought of my four-month-old daughter and that was hard. I was really lucky because I thought that was it.

"I landed on top of the porch, bounced off it and hit the ground. The ladder landed on top of me and there was a crowbar underneath me. I have a swollen knee and I'm a bit winded but apart from that I'm OK. It was a scary moment."

Mr Scott used to be in the Royal Marines and then the French Foreign Legion for five years – so he put his lucky escape down to this and his extra padding around his middle.

The owners of the house called an ambulance but Mr Scott turned down the help to complete the rest of the job.

His boss Colin Martin, 43, who was with him at the time, was delighted that his employee escaped serious injury and said: "I thought the worst when I first saw him.

"At the end of the day you use all the equipment for health and safety. The ladder was specially hired for this, but accidents happen."

They both joked about it after the incident.

"We were thinking of film titles after that – such as Gone In 60 Seconds," said Mr Scott.

Dr Paul Silverston, chairman of Suffolk Accident Rescue Service – a charitable organisation that works alongside the emergency services at accident scenes, said: "Under normal circumstances people suffer significant injuries if they fall from a distance which is greater than three times their own height.

"So it was extremely unusual for this person not to have been injured at all given the distance he fell. It sounds like his training was put to good use saving him from serious injury.

"Someone falling 30ft from a ladder could well sustain fatal injures if they fell onto their head as a result as either a serious head injury or from breaking their neck.

"I have seen life-threatening injuries sustained by people who have fallen less than 30ft."

Jane Easton, a spokeswoman for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said: "This man had a very, very lucky escape. Each year 50 people die in ladder accidents – which is nearly one a week.

"People do have to be very, very careful when up a ladder, especially at that height. A 30ft drop is a long way to fall.

"Obviously using a ladder you have to make sure it is on a suitable flat surface. If you are not used to being up a ladder make sure someone holds it when you are up it."

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