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Witness appeal as pensioner falls from bus
A 69-year-old man who was left unconscious when a bus drove off with him caught in the doors is appealing for anyone who witnessed the incident to come forward.
Romford pensioner Leslie Mason was boarding the packed 248 bus outside the McDonalds on Hornchurch High Street at 3.20pm on New Year's Eve when he became trapped in the closing doors.
Incredibly the bus continued to drive away, and was only stopped after frantic onlookers managed to attract the driver's attention. Mr Mason was left unconscious as police, an ambulance crew and the fire brigade all attended the scene.
Ms Fahmida Hussain, representing Mr Mason, said: "With both his right arm and leg trapped in the doors, he was unable to move as the bus moved away. After desperately fighting to free his leg, Mr Mason's right arm slid down the full length of the doors whereupon he fell and struck his head against the ground.
"Mr Mason could so easily have fallen under the wheels of the bus and been killed," said Ms Hussain, a personal injury expert with Fentons Solicitors LLP. "After banging his head, Mr Mason next remembers waking up in hospital the following day. He lost a lot of blood, and was incredibly lucky to have escaped with his life."
Mr Mason was taken by ambulance to Queens Hospital, Rom Valley Way, where he remained for seven days before being transferred to Broomfield Hospital.
"He has needed several operations on his right arm, including skin grafts," said Ms Hussain. "He now faces consultations with a plastic surgeon and he'll need further surgery on his injured arm, which worryingly has now begun to shake.
"It is a bus driver's responsibility to ensure all his passengers are safely onboard before he drives off," said Ms Hussain. "He should at least have checked to see that it was safe for him to close his doors. This was a 69-year-old man who had been standing in line waiting to get on the bus, not someone sprinting for the bus who launched himself between the doors as they were closing."
Ms Hussain said her client has been in and out of hospital since New Year's Eve simply because the bus driver failed to carry out basic safety procedures before driving off.
"If anyone was in High Street, Hornchurch that afternoon or on the 496 bus and witnessed the accident, then please get in touch," said Ms Hussain. "People's recollections of that day will hopefully still be fresh and although New Years Eve is a memorable day for many of us, Mr Mason may sadly remember it for all the wrong reasons for many years to come."
Can you help?
If you remember seeing the incident on High Street, Hornchurch at around 3:20pm on Friday 31 December 2010, please contact Fahmida Hussain at Fentons Solicitors LLP on 0207 092 2855 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. All information will be treated in the strictest confidence, and any detail could be hugely important to this case.
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