Woman crashes through roof of china shop

A SHOP worker has described the shocking moment a woman crashed through the ceiling, prompting customers to run out of the way.

Naomi Gornall

A SHOP worker has described the shocking moment a woman crashed through the ceiling, prompting customers to run out of the way.

Mandy Swain, a buyer at Hogg's China Shop in Lavenham, was on the shop floor when she heard a lot of commotion above her. She then saw the ceiling about to give way, before the woman fell through, smashed some of the china, and landed face down.

The 28-year-old woman was unconscious at first after the accident on Saturday afternoon at about 4pm but then came around when a crew from the East of England Ambulance Service arrived. She was taken to Addenbrooke's Hospital in an air ambulance. It is believed she escaped serious injury and did not break any bones in the 15ft fall.

Mrs Swain said: “It was pretty scary. I heard some commotion and noises from above the shop and I knew something strange was going on. I saw the ceiling going and I shouted at my colleague and the customers to run. There were about six people in the shop at the time.

“She came through the ceiling, hit some of the china and then landed on the floor.”

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Mrs Swain phoned the ambulance service and followed their instructions until they arrived. Another person on the scene ensured the woman's airway was clear.

The woman, who is believed to live in the flat above the shop, apparently lost her balance, fell through some toughened glass, then crashed through a suspended ceiling, before smashing through the shop's ceiling.

To add to the commotion, there was also a wedding going on in the village at nearby The Swan Hotel. As some of the guests were leaving, they spotted the helicopter and wondered what had happened.

Mrs Swain added: “The village was packed with cars and people because there was a wedding going on. I think it had finished but I know there were some people still around who wondered what was going on with the air ambulance landing. It is not something you expect to happen here.”

Staff spent three hours clearing up the mess so that the shop could reopen on Sunday. Some tarpaulin was also put up to cover the hole temporarily.

Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service attended the scene as there were initial concerns the woman was trapped under debris but this was not the case in the end. They made the premises safe.