Special sensors fitted to cranes

SPECIAL sensors have been fitted to cranes at Felixstowe port to stop lorries being lifted into the air after a series of terrifying accidents, it was revealed today.

SPECIAL sensors have been fitted to cranes at Felixstowe port to stop lorries being lifted into the air after a series of terrifying accidents, it was revealed today.

The sensors can detect if a container is still locked onto to a truck and port chiefs believe the devices will stop the accidents for good.

Suffolk man Derek Mayes has been awarded £452,000 by the High Court after he suffered severe brain damage when his vehicle was lifted into the air and he then fell out and plunged 20ft head first onto the quayside.

Corporate affairs manager for the port, Paul Davey said the lorry drivers were told they should unlock the twistlocks at the terminal gate and should then stay in their vehicles.


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Port officials and the Health and Safety Executive firmly believe it is safer for drivers to be in the lorries than standing on the quayside with the enormous cranes moving around.

Mr Davey said sensors had now been fitted to gantry cranes which could detect movement of the lorry trailer. If it lifted up to 18 inches off the ground as the box was removed, the crane would be automatically cut off.

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"The crane driver can then lower the lorry safely back onto the ground manually," said Mr Davey.

As reported in later editions of yesterday's Evening Star, Mr Mayes, 66, of Stowmarket, won his six-year battle for compensation against Felixstowe Dock and Railway Company.

His counsel, David Melville QC, told Mr Justice Cresswell: "Mr Mayes has never fully recovered and now never will."

The judge paid tribute to the care and attention given to Mr Mayes by his wife Anna following the accident.

After the hearing she said: "Despite a number of previous accidents, the docks still insisted that Derek remain in his cab. I would not want any family to go through what we have."

The couples" solicitor, William Jackson, said: "Derek has changed from being a conscientious and thorough lorry driver to an individual who is heavily dependent upon his wife and family who deserve great credit for the support they have given him.

"The compensation will be used towards improving Derek's quality of life and giving him the rehabilitation and care needs which he so clearly requires."

n Have you witnessed or been involved in an accident at Felixstowe port, or have a compensation claim pending? If so, call Felixstowe Newsdesk on 01394 284109 or e-mail richard.cornwell@eveningstar.co.uk

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