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Worker survives warehouse racking collapse

Worker survives warehouse racking collapse

On Friday of last week, the BBC broke the news that a worker was trapped under collapsed racking inside a food distribution warehouse belonging to haulage company Edwards Transport which stored cheese in Hinstock, Shropshire.

After eight hours of searching, the worker - forklift driver Tomasz Wiszniewski - walked away from the scene physically unhurt, but suffering from shock. His life was almost certainly saved by the fact that his fork lift truck had a sturdy cage, and that he remained inside his vehicle's protected area as the racking came down on top of him.

This is how the drama played out, as reported by the BBC:

FRIDAY 10.30 AM

Police and fire crews are searching the wreckage for a missing man. Rescuers are cutting through the roof and using drones in a bid to trace him.

Shropshire Fire and Rescue spokesman Malcolm Stevenson said a drone was being used to search for the missing person.

"At this stage we have no idea the why the racking inside has collapsed," he told the BBC.

"The building itself has not collapsed although it has been damaged by the collapsed racking inside.

"There's a great deal of it."

He described the racking as being like inside "very large warehouses like those of Tesco and Argos, to keep huge amounts of stock.

"It's metal racking, virtually up to the ceiling, pretty high, and it's full of product of various size.

"The racking is organised in corridors. Most of that has fallen over and collapsed."

He told the BBC that the building was intact but that there had been "bowing to the sides".

FRIDAY 14.55

Nick Southall, a journalist for BBC Shropshire, reported: "The fire service are still searching through the wreckage inside the Edwards Transport warehouse near Hinstock and say the shelving which collapsed reached 18m (59ft) high in places.

"Firefighters are searching for the centre of the collapse and at the same time are being very careful not to trigger further falls.

"They are hoping the missing man may be trapped in an air pocket or protected by the cage of his forklift."

FRIDAY 16.30 

Nick Southhall reports: "There are fears of a second collapse inside the Edwards Transport warehouse near Hinstock.

"The fire service says the fallen shelving inside may have shifted again as they search for a missing forklift driver.

"They also say this is the biggest search operation in their history and the search could take days."

FRIDAY 17.45

A worker trapped under a "huge amount" of cheese after metal shelving inside a food distribution warehouse collapsed has been freed.

Forklift driver Tomasz Wiszniewski walked out of the building unhurt after an eight-hour rescue operation.

Rescuers said it appeared as though Mr Wiszniewski had been saved by the protective cage on his truck.

Rows of metal racking came down in the building on Hatton Road, just outside Hinstock, Shropshire at 9.40am.

Fire crews used drones and cut through the roof in order to locate the missing worker.

Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service described the search as one of the biggest in its history.

Mr Wiszniewski, who is from Poland, smiled and chatted to paramedics as they checked him over after his ordeal. His family have been told he is safe and well.

His colleague Debbie Belcher said there had been "complete fear and dread" when it emerged he was trapped.

"I can't imagine what he's been going through," she said.

"The sense of relief is just immense. We couldn't have hoped for a better outcome."

Crews used specialist cutting equipment to get inside the building to try and free the man after the tangled wreckage of shelving proved impossible to navigate.

A drone was used to look amongst the shelving for the missing worker. Sniffer dogs from Merseyside also assisted with the search.

An investigation is now under way to determine how the racking collapsed.

West Midlands Ambulance Service earlier tweeted one other person had been treated for the effects of shock.

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