Taxi driver tells of terror after falling masonry crushes man to death

The scene in Cliff Street, Bridlington, after part of a building collapsed on a member of the public. Picture: Michael Hopps/Bridlington Free Press
The scene in Cliff Street, Bridlington, after part of a building collapsed on a member of the public. Picture: Michael Hopps/Bridlington Free Press
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A YORKSHIRE taxi driver has told of his terror after falling masonry crushed his car when part of a building collapsed - killing the pedestrian walking past.

The 61-year-old victim was crushed to death by the falling masonry from an amusement arcade in Bridlington, shortly before 1pm on Monday There were strong winds in the town, but it is not yet known whether that was the cause of the accident.

Taxi driver Neil Dean, 52, recalled the moment his Dixie’s Taxis cab was crushed under the weight of the falling building, as he witnessed the pedestrian collapse.

Neil said: “I’m not too great at the moment, I’m suffering a bit.

“It came down on the top of the car and he was walking towards the amusement arcade. He was straight outside my car and I watched him go down. I feel so so sorry for his family.

“He was minding his own business and just walking towards Pleasureland Amusements. The falling masonry came from the pointing on the top of the building. That’s where it all came from.

“It quite a new building and it’s been there for under ten years. Apparently somebody saw it wobble a few weeks ago. It’s not an old building.”

According to the Met Office, a strong gale, with gusts of up to 48mph, was recorded in Bridlington at the time of the incident.

But the fire service said it was unclear why the masonry fell. The police said they were working to establish the cause.

Dad-of-two Neil said: “Yesterday it was windy and absolutely freezing. I didn’t know what was going on, I thought somebody had thrown a brick through my window. I knew something was falling down on me and when I realised what had happened, I knew where it had come from.

“It’s the poor bloke’s family I feel sorry for. My heart goes out to his family and friends. It’s so horrendous all those people.

“I’ve described it as somebody throwing a snowball at the car but 100 times worse. In a split second it flattened my car and the bloke was two feet away from me. By the grace of God I haven’t got a scratch on me.

“I feel incredibly lucky to be alive. If I had gone to the café for a coffee I could have been with him. The car saved me. All the windows have gone and the boot has gone.

“There was a lot of emergency services there and they got there amazingly quick. I’ve never seen so many policemen. They did one hell of a job.

“All of the people in Bridlington rallied around. I could see the bloke was dead already and there were a lot of people around but nobody else was hurt. There could have been a dozen school kids there.

“There were lots of people on the phone calling ambulances and we knew that we were not allowed to move him. People kept a decent distance.

“I’ve had people texting me and I’ve had a lot of fantastic support. I’ve had people knocking on my door and asking if I’m okay.

“It’s been traumatic and you can’t put in to words how bad it felt.

Police said the fallen masonry had “struck the man and a vehicle” near Pleasureland, on Cliff Street, Bridlington, at about 1pm.

Humberside Fire and Rescue Service said two crews were sent to the scene, but the man was “no longer trapped” under masonry when they arrived.