Worker hurt in fall from Great Yarmouth church tower

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Media captionThe 26-year-old scaffolder suffered chest injuries

A scaffolder had to be brought down a Norfolk church tower on a stretcher after he suffered three broken ribs in a fall.

Michael Sheldrake, 26, was working at St Nicholas Minster in Great Yarmouth when he lost his footing.

Norfolk Fire Service said he fell 15ft (5m) from scaffolding on to a flat roof on the tower while working about 100ft (30m) up.

A specialist rescue team abseiled Mr Sheldrake down on a stretcher.

The area was cordoned off for several hours as paramedics climbed up scaffolding to treat him before the specialist team arrived.

His father, Dave Sheldrake, who owns the scaffolding business, claimed his son fell a much shorter distance and his injuries were not as serious as initially feared.

'Amazing job'

"He fell 6ft (1.8m) and landed face-down on beams," said Mr Sheldrake, who did not wish to give the name of his business.

"He's got three broken ribs, he's fine and should be coming home today or tomorrow.

"I'd like to thank the emergency services, they did an amazing job."

He added his son, a qualified scaffolder, had been wearing a safety harness but the equipment only deploys at 15ft (5m).

Phil Berry, from Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, said: "The man was injured in the fall and we worked with police and ambulance colleagues to bring him down safely."

Mr Sheldrake was treated by paramedics who climbed scaffolding around the tower after a safety assessment was made.

'Chest injuries'

The Reverend Andrew Avery, from the minster, said the accident happened as they were finishing morning prayer.

"When we came out the fire service were already here," he said.

"I believe the man fell from the scaffolding around the spire into the tower which has a flat roof.

"He suffered chest injuries which are significant.

"We have prayed that he will make a swift recovery."

The East of England Ambulance Service said it was called to Yarmouth Minster at 09:25 BST and the patient taken to James Paget Hospital in Gorleston.

A spokeswoman said: "This was a very complicated operation due to the difficult location."

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