Driver trapped in digger in Sumburgh Airport incident

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The driver was trapped as the digger toppled when part of the runway gave way. Photo: Sydney Sinclair

The driver was trapped as the digger toppled when part of the runway gave way. Photo: Sydney Sinclair

A man has been taken to hospital on a spinal board this morning after becoming trapped in an overturned digger at Sumburgh Airport.

 A spokesman for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said the incident happened at 9.10am at the end of the runway, close to the sea wall. Photographs of the scene show that part of the runway gave way underneath the digger causing it to topple.

 The man, who was believed to be driving the vehicle, was released by firemen through the back window. No cutting equipment was needed by the fire service.

 He was taken to hospital on a spinal board and by road ambulance, however was still conscious and able to move, the spokesman said.

Shetland Police were also called to airport to assist and later the force tweeted about the incident. 

A spokesman for Shetland Coastguard said they were called to the incident this morning, with reports that a person was trapped in a digger and allegedly dangling over the water.

A  helicopter paramedic was able to reach the man, the spokesman said, and they believed the digger had been stabilised following the incident. 

Nobody from the airport was available to comment.

More to follow.

The Sumburgh Airport runway has been beset by problems in recent years and there has been a long-running legal row between Shetland Islands Council and Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd.

Last year the Scottish government announced a £12 million investment to help address a faulty runway extension. The legal battle began in 2012 when it emerged the runway extension, which was built into the sea in 2006, was prone to erosion and damage in south-easterly gales. 

 

Heavy plant was called on to pull the digger free. Photo: Sydney Sinclair

Heavy plant was called on to pull the digger free. Photo: Sydney Sinclair

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