Bin lorry driver dies in pier crash tragedy

Picture: Police Scotland
Picture: Police Scotland
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The driver of a bin lorry was ­fatally crushed by his vehicle as he tried to stop it rolling out of a car park.

The man is understood to have been attempting to climb into the moving cab when he became trapped between his vehicle and a stone pillar at the rear car park of the Hawes Inn, South ­Queensferry.

Onlookers watched as the red Biffa lorry rolled out of the pub car park striking a parked Jaguar car before rolling across the busy main road and mounting the pavement at about 1:15pm on Saturday.

It then smashed through fencing beside the Inchcolm Ferry ticket office before coming to rest hanging over the edge of Hawes Pier.

The 58-year-old man, named locally as Maurice Willis, was rushed to hospital but died from his injuries.

Tributes have been paid to Mr Willis on social media sites. His son Paul Willis posted: “Yesterday the toughest, wisest and bravest man I’ve ever known was taken from us. I learned so many life lessons from you dad. Sleep well you gentle giant.”

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A resident, who asked not to be named, said: “Everyone is in shock. He was a good guy who was well known around the town. It’s such a tragic accident, it’s amazing that no one else was hurt as it flew across the road and on to the pavement. It went within a foot of the seal monument which is quite popular with little kids and tourists having their pictures taken.”

Waste management company Biffa yesterday said employees were shocked at his death, adding that the firm would carry out an investigation.

A spokesman said: “This tragic incident has shocked everyone at Biffa and we send our heartfelt condolences to the family and close friends. Naturally, we will work with the police to try and understand the circumstances behind the incident, whilst also carrying out our own full internal investigation.”

Police are appealing for witnesses to come forward.

Sergeant Brian Smith, from Police Scotland’s Edinburgh road policing unit, said: “This tragic accident happened as the driver tried to stop his lorry from rolling out of the car park of the Hawes Inn.

“He was crushed against the wall by the lorry, which then hit a parked Jaguar car before rolling across the road and mounting the pavement, demolishing a bench and fencing before it came to rest hanging over the edge of the pier.

“Although this is a busy road, with a number of pedestrians in the area at the time, fortunately no-one else was injured.”

Several bouquets of flowers were laid at the spot where the accident happened yesterday.

Councillor for the area, Norman Work, said: “It’s a tragic ­accident.

“It appears that the driver was trying to prevent the accident from happening.

“It’s tragic but could have been a lot worse. We are grateful no-one else was injured, because it’s a very busy area round the whole promenade.

“Obviously our thoughts go out to the family of the driver.”

Staff at the Hawes Inn rushed to help Mr Willis before emergency services attended the scene.

A spokeswoman for the pub, which sits in the shadow of the Forth Bridge, said: “Our team helped out as much as they could in the moments after the accident happened and contacted the emergency services.

“We are fully co-operating with the police investigation and our thoughts are very much with the driver’s family.”

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