An Edinburgh taxi driver was seconds from death after slowly suffocating himself as he became trapped between his cab and parked cars.
Robbie Paterson, 63, from Granton, was reversing around a corner on Granby Road in the Capital on Thursday 19 September when the front nearside wheel stuck inside an open drain cover, leaving the taxi immobile with the engine revving.
But when the taxi freed itself with a lurch, striking cars nearby, the cabbie found himself being slowly suffocated as the vehicle crushed him. Having escaped the incident with just aches and pains and no broken bones, Mr Paterson is now hoping to track down the people he believes saved his life.
Attempting to free his vehicle while looking out of his cab door, the taxi “lurched” out of the hole so quickly that Mr Paterson fell out of the cab and became trapped.
Suddenly, he realised his cab, which was still reversing, was slowly crushing him to death as it travelled along the side of the parked cars, pressing him against his taxi. Mr Paterson said: “I had curled up and then I felt myself getting pressured into a parked car on one side.
“I went to say to someone to switch the engine off and I realised I couldn’t talk because I was not breathing and I realised I was strangling myself to death.”
“My arms are across my chest and around my neck. I couldn’t pull my head back out of it. I was taking no air in whatsoever and I was unable to talk.”
Luckily for Mr Paterson, someone who had tried to help free his cab made the decision to switch the engine of the taxi off, stopping the crush becoming fatal.
“I was as frightened as it is possible to be,” said Mr Paterson. “I did think I was not going to get out of it alive. It could have been a different scenario if I had been alone.
“I was just the luckiest person that someone had got sense.”
Now searching for the person who helped him, Mr Paterson recognises how lucky he was to walk away from the incident relatively injury free.
He said: “I walked away from it. It was life threatening and I have walked away with aches and pains.
“I can’t tell you how lucky I felt and how lucky I feel. It is unimaginable and surreal.
“You go off in the morning to do a days work and you end up in a neck brace. It was quite harrowing for my son and my wife.”
A City of Edinburgh Council spokesman said a missing gully cover was reported on 18 September and was repaired on 19 September.