A DRIVER made a “miraculous” escape after his car careered into the basement of a Stockbridge tenement building and smashed a window.
The black Seat Cupra hatchback crashed through wrought iron railings and ended up wedged vertically beside the Saxe Coburg Street property.
Neighbours said it was incredibly lucky that the driver – the sole occupant of the car – was unharmed in the early-morning incident.
The man managed to crawl out of the vehicle before explaining to horrified onlookers that he had been looking for a parking space when he hit an icy patch and lost control, narrowly avoiding a parked car.
Residents said they heard a “horrendous noise” when the car smashed into the basement after skidding from nearby Saxe Coburg Place.
The man was checked over by ambulance staff but did not need hospital treatment, and no-one in the occupied property was injured.
Colette Doyle, whose main-door home spans the ground and basement levels, had been in her kitchen at around 6.40am when she heard an “unbelievable” crash.
The impact smashed the window of a spare bedroom on the lower floor, damaging some stonework and also smashing plant pots.
Ms Doyle said: “It’s a bit surreal. The ambulance checked the guy over but he was absolutely brand new. He said he was just off a night shift and searching for a parking space. He said that he slid into the railings, he couldn’t stop it.”
A neighbour, who asked not to be named, described hearing a “horrendous noise” outside her window.
“You couldn’t make up what had happened. I went down the stairs and realised it had gone down into the basement well.
“My neighbour attended to the man. He was miraculously OK. It’s just amazing. It’s great that he hasn’t been hurt.”
The area around the crash was cordoned off by police while a recovery team worked to remove the badly damaged vehicle at around 11.30am.
Residents said the incident was the most serious in a string of smashes over the years, and hit out at the council for failing to grit secondary streets.
Ian Johnston, who lives in the basement flat adjoining Ms Doyle’s property, said six cars had fallen foul of the ice before – but none had ever crashed through the railings.
The 85-year-old said: “The cars before have just mounted the pavement. It’s a bad spot. I couldn’t believe it – I still had my slippers on, took one step out and there was this car.”
A council spokeswoman said city gritters treated roads and pavements in accordance with a priority system.
She said: “Saxe Coburg Street forms part of a Priority 2 treatment route, along with other residential streets in the Stockbridge area. Owing to the frequency of snow showers yesterday and overnight, the gritters had to concentrate on the Priority 1 routes. In circumstances such as these, we would urge the public to take extra care when heading out, as well as making use of the grit bins located in the area.”
• Are you the driver of the car? Get in touch by emailing email@example.com or call 0131 311 7541.