Ex-mayor spent five days trapped under pipe after he tried to take a shortcut

  • london
  • July 4, 2023
  • Comments Off on Ex-mayor spent five days trapped under pipe after he tried to take a shortcut

A former mayor feared he wouldn’t survive after becoming stuck under a pipe on his walk to the railway station.

Chris Cummins, 75, was walking to Barkingside Tube station in east London when he thought he would try and take a shortcut.

He tried to squeeze through a wire fence at the back of neighbouring Redbridge FC’s Oakside Stadium on February 28, MailOnline reported.

The ex-mayor of Redbridge and former civil servant said: ‘I had to edge along sideways. Then I started crawling.

‘But then I came to some sort of pipe low down. When I tried to crawl under it, I got stuck and couldn’t move.’

His ordeal lasted for five days where temperatures dropped below freezing and he had no access to food or water.

Chris added: ‘I was probably incredibly foolish. As I lay there, I prayed – that’s all I could do. Ricky and the others saved my life. I’ll be a bit more careful in future.’

On the fifth day football club manager Richard Eaton, also known as Ricky, and three colleagues heard Chris weakly shouting for help and came to his aid.

An air ambulance, paramedics and firefighters rushed to the scene while Ricky gave him some water through a straw.

After spending two months in hospital and later recovering in a care home, Chris said: ‘I was wearing trousers, a shirt, a jumper, and a sort of cagoule. I had no phone and no food or water.

‘While I was lying down, on my front but slightly to one side, all I could do was shout for help – “Help, I’m stuck, and I’ve lost my mobile” – and pray.

‘Sometimes it was the Lord’s Prayer. Mostly it was, “Please God, help me get out of here.” I might have put my hands together, I don’t know.

‘I fell asleep sometimes, using my right arm as a pillow, but could follow the time by activity at the station – the trains stopping at night and restarting in the morning, and the announcements, hundreds of times.

‘I couldn’t hear any human voices. When Ricky finally arrived, I said, “Thank God you’ve come.”‘

Aside from having to have all the toes amputated on his left foot – which ended up being due to a previously undiagnosed issue – he is now able to return home with a walking frame.

He added: ‘Although it was February, then March, it was dry and it wasn’t as cold. And I didn’t feel too thirsty, just the saliva from swallowing kept me going.’

Ricky has launched a GoFundMe appeal for donations to help Chris get back to full health.

He said: ‘Chris was heard calling out on the Thursday evening during a night training session by one individual who stopped and shouted out but could not hear any response.

‘We found Chris in a terrible position face down in the dirt. I will never forget the moment we found him and the pure joy in his voice.

‘I remember Chris asking if I was an angel and the relief on his face was overwhelming for us all. Emergency services said it was very unlikely he would have survived another night.’

He added: ‘What a man.’

Chris is in good company – recently poor Jack Russell Spike had to be rescued after getting stuck in a sewer pipe, but he was rescued just seven hours later.

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