ZOOMING along on his powerful quad bike, the Network Rail contractor can’t have known much about the accident which saw him plunge 30ft over a sheer drop on to the railway track below.
Police are still probing how the 36-year-old worker came to be badly injured following the accident which saw his four-wheel all-terrain buggy tumble down this sheer drop near North Berwick on to a railway track yesterday afternoon.
The dramatic spill caused an oncoming train to be halted and resulted in a perilous rescue operation which ended with the man being airlifted to hospital by air ambulance.
Last night, sources in the fire service said it was a wonder the man is still alive – given the distance he fell on his quad – a vehicle increasingly popular with hill farmers because of their go-anywhere capabilities.
“When you see how far he fell it makes you realise just how lucky he has been,” the source said.
The incident sparked a huge rescue operation involving firefighters, paramedics, doctors, police officers, HM Coastguard and air ambulance crews.
Fire crews from North Berwick and East Linton along with line rescue teams from Newcraighall and Tollcross raced to attend.
Group manager Andy Girrity, the incident commander, said they arrived to find a man lying on the track. All railway traffic was “immediately stopped” while the rope rescue teams were lowered to the injured man to provide emergency trauma care.
Paramedics, who had made their way up the track on foot, had to treat the man on the tracks.
The 1.27pm North Berwick to Edinburgh train, which had stopped nearby, was then used as the “quickest and safest way” of moving him several hundred metres to a waiting 4x4 ambulance vehicle.
The injured contractor was assessed by doctors before being taken to the landing site and flown to the hospital.
Mr Girrity said: “This was a complex rescue operation that required the specialist skills of emergency responders from each of the services who worked extremely closely to stabilise the casualty and get him to hospital.”
The incident happened near Fenton Barns Farm.
It was initially feared that the victim had suffered from “multiple fractures and possible internal injuries”.
But a Network Rail spokesman said his injuries were “serious but not life-threatening”.
“Investigations to establish the exact nature of the incident are under way,” the rail spokesman added.
Train services were disrupted between Edinburgh and North Berwick for around an hour.
Replacement bus services were arranged for passengers.
Police Scotland said they would be liaising with the Health and Safety Executive.