Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to the newest version of your browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of Construction News, please enable cookies in your browser.

Welcome to the Construction News site. As we have relaunched, you will have to sign in once now and agree for us to use cookies, so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Digger toddler in coma

Three-year-old seriously ill after excavator topples on him - Workers get trauma counselling

A YOUNG boy is in a coma in a Leeds hospital after a kindly gesture by a digger driver went tragically wrong.

The three-year-old was crushed by a mini excavator after the driver allowed him to get inside the cab to show him the controls.

The accident happened while Newcastle upon Tyne firm O'Donnell Bros was laying electricity cables for the northeast's main electricity supplier, NEDL, at the seaside town of Filey in North Yorkshire.The Health and Safety Executive has begun an investigation.

An HSE spokeswoman said: 'It seemed the little boy was a building site fanatic and had been pestering the driver to let him in his cab for some time.

'The driver eventually relented and sat him on his knee for a while. But the excavator hit an obstruction and the driver decided to pass the boy out to a colleague.

It was during this process that the excavator toppled over and fell on the boy, who we understand was half-way out of the cab.'

It is believed the lad's foot caught the machine's slewing handle as he was getting out.This moved the boom, causing the 1.5-tonne machine to topple over, trapping the boy underneath.

The lad, who has not been named, is currently at the Leeds General Infirmary, where he is in an induced coma. He has suffered a broken arm and pelvis, damage to his spine as well as internal injuries.

The two O'Donnell workers returned to work on Monday after nearly two weeks off and are still undergoing trauma counselling.

An O'Donnell spokesman said: 'We are in touch with his parents.We are thinking about the parents and the child and we wish them well.

'The guys realise the child shouldn't have been behind the safety barriers let alone inside the cab.

It's a very tragic accident.'

The HSE spokeswoman added: 'This accident just goes to show the dangers of letting children anywhere near a live construction site.'