Firefighters save pensioner after mobility scooter topples down embankment

A grateful pensioner has thanked firefighters who rescued him after his mobility scooter plunged down an embankment in South Shields.

Syd McDonald, 90, has praised Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) after they helped to rescue him from Simonside Metro Station earlier this month.

The 90-year-old was rescued by firefighters after his scooter rolled on top of him, pinning him to the ground, on a steep embankment.

The alarm was raised on Tuesday 7th November by a young lad who was passing by the embankment after hearing Syd’s cries for help.

The incident took place near to the metro station and outside the boundaries of the Metro line.

The scooter was too heavy to lift, and Syd was in pain, so the passer-by called 999 before firefighters from South Shields and Hebburn Community Fire Stations, and paramedics were deployed to the scene.

Syd, who is a widower, was married to his late wife Margery for over 45-years.  They moved to Simonside in the early 1960s – where Syd has lived ever since.

The retired articulated lorry driver was out getting some fresh air when he tried to turn the scooter around on the narrow pavement and plunged down the embankment.

Luckily the steel fencing at the bottom of the embankment stopped Syd and the scooter from going any further.

Once the crews arrived on scene they were able to assess and devise the safest way of rescuing Syd after his accident.

Syd McDonald, said: “The fire and ambulance service did a marvellous job that I will always be grateful for.”

Mr McDonald was taken to hospital for a precautionary check up to have his injuries assessed, but he was later released nursing a badly grazed wrist.

Syd light-heartedly commented: “I don’t make jobs easy for folk”.

Syd was accompanied to the hospital by his good friend Ann Powell – who he’s known for over 50-years.

On the day of Syd’s accident, Ann, 78, had just got home after visiting him earlier in the day.  She dropped him a quick phone call to say she’d got home safely, only for a firefighter to answer the phone to confirm Syd had been involved in an accident.

“I really did fear the worst. I thought that Syd had been badly hurt,” said Ann.

“I was in bits when I saw the blue flashing lights.  But what can I say, the emergency services were brilliant,” said Ann.

“They were really careful in the way they moved Syd especially as he’d fallen awkwardly.  But everyone worked together to ensure Syd was safe and sound.”

Crew Manager Dan Jones of Blue Watch at South Shields Community Fire Station, said:

“Syd was lying partially under his scooter which a passer-by had helpfully held up until we arrived. Two Firefighters descended the short bank to assess him whilst other crews moved the scooter off of Syd and up the bank using a rope and pulley system.

“Once that was clear we were able to properly check him for injuries. Luckily he had only sustained a minor abrasion to his wrist so we assisted Syd onto our specialist rope-rescue stretcher and used it as a sledge which we hauled it up the bank with ropes and pulleys.

“Our Firefighters waiting on the path carried out further medical checks until the ambulance crews arrived and took over.”

Crew Manager Jones added:  “Both Blue Watch crews from South Shields and Hebburn Community Fire Stations helped with Syd’s rescue and were glad that his injuries were slight. We train constantly in our specialist rope rescue skills and they proved invaluable on this occasion.

“It was great to see Syd up and about, and able to joke about the incident, although he does realise just how serious it could have been.”

The Fire Service would always advise anyone operating vehicles such as mobility scooters to take extra care when manoeuvring in tight or precarious spaces.