Window cleaner cheats death

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A WINDOW cleaner had a miracle escape after falling around 20 feet from his ladder today.

The 45-year-old was rushed to hospital with serious injuries after the accident on Dalkeith Road.

Shocked neighbours and passers-by described how they ran to help the man as he cried out in pain.

The man fell while cleaning a first-floor window in a tenement block near the Royal Commonwealth Pool. Paramedics had to

secure him to a stretcher before taking him to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary by ambulance.

One neighbour said the man landed very awkwardly after the fall, which happened at around 9.20am, and was "moaning" in pain.

An NHS spokesman said the window cleaner was being treated in hospital for "serious injuries", although his condition is not thought to be life-threatening.

A passing cyclist stopped to help and comfort the man while a neighbour called an ambulance.

People living in the block were in shock this morning after the accident. One elderly resident said she was horrified to learn that the man, who cleans the block's window's once a month, had fallen while cleaning her front window.

Another woman said she opened her curtains this morning to find the window cleaner lying on the ground, being strapped to the stretcher by paramedics.

The window cleaner's van was left parked nearby, and a resident placed the ladders back on the roof and left a note for parking attendants in a bid to avoid him being given a ticket.

Doug Atkinson, a member of the Scottish Licensed Window Cleaners Network (SLWCN), said the accident highlighted what can be "a very hazardous job".

He said new health and safety regulations meant that many window cleaners were using long poles fixed with water pumps and sponges instead of ladders.

"It's a very hazardous job and that's why water-fed poles were introduced and customers need to understand the fact that window cleaners should not be taking risks just to clean their properties," he said. "I feel sorry for this guy, but in this job, accidents do happen."

A Scottish Ambulance Service spokesman told the Evening News the window cleaner had fallen about 20 feet, adding that his injuries "appear to have been quite serious".

An NHS Lothian spokesman added: "A man suffering injuries after falling off a ladder was taken to hospital this morning. He has serious injuries which are not thought to be life-threatening."

Under the Civic Government (Scotland) Act, every window cleaner in Scotland is required to hold a licence. However, the Evening News revealed last month that just one in five of the Capital's estimated 500 window cleaners complies with the rules.

Mother-of-two dies in 'tragic accident' at home

A MOTHER-OF-TWO has died after a "tragic accident" at her home in the Lothians.

Neighbours said Sheena Somerville may have died as a result of a fall, although she is also understood to have had a history of illness.

Mrs Somerville, 49, leaves behind two grown-up children – son Liam and daughter Laura – and her husband Muir.

Mr Somerville, thought to be a building standards officer with Edinburgh City Council, today declined to comment at the family home in Lydgait Gardens, Haddington, East Lothian.

Neighbours in the small cul-de-sac of detached houses said they were shocked by the tragedy on January 10, but also declined to speak.

Lothian and Borders Police said they had investigated the sudden death, and had concluded there were no suspicious circumstances. A report has been sent to the procurator fiscal.

According to a death notice in today's Evening News, Mrs Somerville died "suddenly, as a result of a tragic accident".

Her funeral will be held on Saturday at West Church, Haddington. Donations have been requested for the Sick Kids Hospital.

&#149 A man found dead by a postman on his way to work in Pilton died just yards from his home. Russell McDougall, 37, who was discovered on a grass verge on Ferry Road Avenue yesterday morning, lived in nearby Inchgarvie Court.

Police have confirmed there are no suspicious circumstances, but the cause of death is not yet known.

Residents reported hearing a disturbance in the early hours of Wednesday and there were reports of a man sleeping rough.

However, it is unclear if this was Mr McDougall.