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Woman breaks arm in fall after side of seafront shelter collapses

PUBLISHED: 19:00 04 November 2019

Felixstowe seafront gardens, where a woman was injured in a fall. Picture: ARCHANT

Felixstowe seafront gardens, where a woman was injured in a fall. Picture: ARCHANT

A visitor to Felixstowe has told how she suffered a 7ft fall when the side of a shelter in the Seafront Gardens collapsed, leaving her with a fractured arm.

A view from below the shelter, showing where the woman fell. Picture: LISA WILSONA view from below the shelter, showing where the woman fell. Picture: LISA WILSON

East Suffolk Council cordoned off the area following the accident, and is investigating what happened.

The injured woman says the wood was rotten - and warned action is needed so that nobody else has a similar accident.

The woman, who asked not to be named, was with a group of friends. She fell through the side of the shelter after leaning on a wooden rail, which gave way. She then had to wait more than 90 minutes on the cold ground for an ambulance.

"I fell about 7ft. People came to help me - they pulled me back and made sure I didn't go down to the next level. I fractured my arm, and hurt my neck and other arm, and I have bruising to my leg and cuts on my face," she said.

The piece of rail which fell from the side of the shelter Picture: CONTRIBUTEDThe piece of rail which fell from the side of the shelter Picture: CONTRIBUTED

"I think I was really lucky not to have bashed my head, because there is a lot of stone around there."

The woman, who lives in the Midlands but regularly visits family in Felixstowe, said: "I think the side of the shelter was rotten.

"I am just concerned that the council goes round there, checks the shelter and makes sure it is safe, so no one else has the experience I have had."

Felixstowe Coastguard rescue team came to the scene of the accident at lunchtime on Saturday, and helped the woman until the ambulance arrived.

The shelter following the accident. Picture: CONTRIBUTEDThe shelter following the accident. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

The woman said: "It was freezing cold on the ground, but the coastguard were really good. They kept me warm and gave me first aid.

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"I thought the ambulance would have been there quicker, but they were great when they came."

She was taken for treatment at Ipswich Hospital following the accident, and is having more treatment at her local hospital.

Lisa Wilson, one of the group of parents and teenagers, said: "It all happened so quickly - we ran down to see how she was, and called an ambulance."

She added that the other side of the shelter also looked as if it might give way.

An East Suffolk Council spokesman said: "Naturally, our thoughts are with the person involved following this incident and investigations are underway.

"Our colleagues at East Suffolk Norse have informed us that they carry out safety inspections on a monthly basis and at this stage we are seeking to establish how this incident occurred. The immediate area has been cordoned off while investigations take place."

A spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Service said: "We would like to apologise for any distress caused to the patient waiting for an ambulance on Saturday afternoon. We were called on Saturday at 1.05pm with reports of a woman who had fallen. We immediately called the coastguard, due to the location of the incident, and a coastguard rescue team arrived on scene at 1.37pm.

"We sent an ambulance crew which arrived at the scene at 2.40pm and a woman was transported to Ipswich hospital with a wrist injury for further treatment.

"At the time we received this call, we were experiencing high demand and had to prioritise patients with life-threatening injuries and illnesses.

"This unfortunately meant that some people who did not have life-threatening cases may have experienced longer waits. We do understand however that these situations can be stressful for patients and their families and again, we are very sorry.

"We always welcome feedback on our services and invite patients to contact us if they would like to discuss any aspect of their care.

"A freephone is available on 0800 028 3382 or 01234 243320, or patients can email: eoeasnt.feedback@nhs.net or write to the Patient Experience Team at: EEAST, Hammond Road, Bedford, MK41 0RG."

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