Crane disaster victim: 'I didn't know if I'd live or die'

A contruction worker left hanging from a collapsed crane 200ft in the air for five hours has won a six figure payout from his former employers.

Paul Baxter, 32, of Castleford, suffered post traumatic stress disorder after his ordeal while working as a trainee tower crane erector for Select Plant Hire Company Ltd.

Disaster struck in June 2007 when part of a tower crane he was climbing in Croydon collapsed and fell into a hotel.

He said: "Considering the collapse and the damage it caused, it was

almost unbearable hanging on to the remaining part of the tower without knowing whether I was going to live or die.

"Just thinking back to it sends me into a nervous panic. It was truly the most terrifying moment of my entire life and seemed to last forever. Finally getting back to the ground was a massive relief, but by then the damage had been done."

His employer was ordered to pay a 100,000 fine and costs after a criminal prosecution by the Health and Safety Executive highlighted the firm breached safety regulations and breached their duty of care.

Mr Baxter was unable to return to work, his relationship with his family broke down and he was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

He said: "In a way it was a relief when I was diagnosed with a condition. It meant I was able to tackle my demons head-on and look to move forward in my life."

Irwin Mitchell issued proceedings on Mr Baxter's behalf and a successful claim has been settled for a six-figure sum, three years after the incident.