Moment grandfather cheats death as 60ft tree crashes down on top of him during storm and leaves him with fractured spine, broken foot and facial injuries
- Nigel Ward, 70, claims tree hit him with such force he is now two inches shorter
- The Dorset grandfather was crushed under tree for 45 minutes in agonising pain
Shocking footage shows the moment a monster 60ft tree crashed down on top of a grandfather in just three seconds while on working his smallholding during a storm.
Nigel Ward was trapped under the tree for 45 minutes after a large part of it snapped off, landed onto a nearby shed and crushed him in a squat position on February 18, 2022.
Mr Ward, from Wareham in Dorset, was in hospital for 10 days and unable to work for six months nursing a catalogue of horror injuries including a fractured spine, a broken left foot, damage to his shoulder and neck and facial lacerations.
The 5ft 6in, 70-year-old, grandfather-of-two claims that he was struck with such force that he lost two inches in height and is now just 5ft 4in.
Nigel Ward was trying to tend to his open-sided shed during Storm Eunice when the tree crashed down on him
It only took three seconds for the tree to collapse on top of the then 69-year-old, leaving him with no time to react during the storm
A year on, an incredulous Nigel has shared the footage from when Storm Eunice battered the UK, conceding ‘it should have killed me’.
His post was captioned: ‘One year ago today, I thought I was going to meet my maker.’
Nigel said: ‘I should be dead really. It fractured my spine, smashed my left foot, shoulder and neck.
‘That tree never knocked me flat, it put me into a squat position. I probably lost about two inches in height.
‘I couldn’t breathe. Luckily enough my coat was quite large fitting on me. I just wriggled until I managed to get over on my side.
‘I did hear a hell of a crack in my foot when I went over. I could hear the bone breaking in my foot.
‘It took three-quarters of an hour to get me out. It was awful, I’m not the same person I was.’
Nigel was called down to the open-fronted shed where he stores his pony cart and hay by a worker at 12.45pm who was concerned the side of the building was going to blow out.
Nigel agonisingly detailed the moment he could hear his foot breaking under the weight of the massive tree
The 70-year-old was in hospital for 10 days after the tree smashed his foot, fractured his spine, damaged shoulders and neck
The then 69-year-old went down to assess the situation and while explaining to the worker what he would do to secure the building the tree crashed down.
Nigel said: ‘I walked down to the building in my stable block and I said ‘I know how we can cure that’ and that’s as far as I got.
‘The next thing I knew it had hit me. If you look closely at the video the chickens heard it long before I did.
‘They were running before the tree came down, they must have known something.
‘The noise it made when it hit that shed was unbelievable. The roof timbers on the shed were just smashed like matchsticks.
‘If that shed hadn’t been there it would have killed us both because that roof took most of the brunt.
‘The worker had some timbers hit her in the back.’
The female worker called the emergency services who arrived within minutes and battled to free Nigel before blue-lighting him to Poole Hospital in Poole, Dorset.
Nigel said: ‘I can remember bits of it, I just remember it was very, very cold.
‘One paramedic managed to wriggle in and get in alongside me, but I can’t really remember them getting me out.
‘I had a fractured spine, a smashed left foot, damage to my shoulder and my neck, and lacerations on my face from the branches that were really, really rough.
‘I spent 10 days in hospital. They were going to operate on my foot because I’ve got a bad heart they [decided not to and] said although it would take some time, it would eventually heal.
‘My foot was put in a boot and I wasn’t able to work for six months.
‘The recovery was very painful and frustrating. I had very strong painkillers, used a zimmer frame and I went for physio.’
A year on from his accident, Nigel says that he still suffers with pain in his foot and ankle.
A year after the shocking incident, the grandfather still says he feels pain in his foot an ankle as well as swelling in his leg
Following his time in hospital, Nigel had to keep his foot in a boot for six months which kept him from working
Nigel said: ‘I can walk but I get pains in my foot and ankle. I did have some really bad swelling in the leg.
‘I don’t like looking at the footage. A lot of people have said they can’t believe I’m still here, it should have killed me.
‘I wasn’t able to go back there [where the accident happened] for a long time. Going there now gives me the creeps.
‘If I hear a tree it brings back some awful memories.’
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