A butcher just minutes from death after getting stuck in a freezer saved his own life by battering his way out - with a frozen Aberdeenshire black pudding.
Quick-thinking Chris McCabe, 70, thought he was going to die after he got locked in his own walk-in freezer which stores meat at temperatures of -20C.
But with time running out in the freezer which is capable of killing a man in just half an hour, he grabbed the only tool he could find - a black pudding.
He battered the lock with the frozen breakfast staple and it eventually gave way and he walked free.
Chris, a father-of-four from Totnes, Devon, said: ‘Black pudding saved my life, without a doubt.
“No one could hear me banging because it is outside, round the back of the shop.
“The black pudding was the best thing to hit the button with because it was the right shape.
“I used it like the police use battering rams to break door locks in, that’s what I did with the black pudding.
“It was solid, pointed and I could get plenty of weight behind it. I’m lucky really, we sell about two or three each week and that was the last one in there.”
Chris said the winds had blown the door shut after he went in and to his horror the inner door release button had frozen solid.
He frantically looked around for something to save him - but couldn’t find anything to de-ice the emergency release.
The lamb was too big and the beef didn’t afford enough grip, and Chris said he had all but given up hope he spotted his last black pudding.
The fried breakfast favourite, supplied straight from the Queen’s butcher HM Sheridan of Ballater, was the perfect size, weight and most importantly diameter.
Chris wielded the 1.5kg stick of blood sausage and gave the green door-release button a whack before being freed on the third attempt.
He added: “I had rushed in, I was in a hurry as usual and I heard the door shut behind me, I thought that was ok because I could kick the safety button from inside.
“I’ve been shut in before and I used the button to get out then, but this time it was frozen solid.
“I removed all the metal racking around it and I looked around for some thing to hit it with and I came on the idea of using a black pudding stick.
“They weigh 1.5kg and they are a big long stick that you can just about get your hand around.
“I managed to get in a position to bash the button a few times until the ice broke and the door opened.”
The walk in freezer, about the same size as a small room, is located round the back of C.M.McCabe Butchers on Fore Street, Totnes.
There is no passing footfall around the freezer, and no one to hear any cries for help coming from within the icy box.
Chris said that meat is frozen solid in the freezer in just half an hour, and although he was only stuck for a few minutes during the incident on 15 December, he believes he would have died within half an hour.
Chris sells black pudding from his shop for £7.95 per kg, and described it as the perfect accompaniment for a fried breakfast.
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