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12th MAY 1994


HERO…Jimmy Davies pictured next to the wrecked and burnt out digger.
WRECKED…The digger is on its side after plunging 80 feet down the quarry.


RELUCTANT hero Jimmy Davies shrugged off the praise of firefighters this week after rescuing a workmate from the cab of his crushed and burning excavator.

With flames licking the machine and huge rocks balanced 80 feet above his head, Jimmy pulled the 14 stone driver through a hole which firemen described as “barely big enough for a dog.”

Following the dramatic rescue – at Alfred McAlpine's Llandybie quarry – a fire brigade spokesman said: “Words can't describe Jimmy's courage.

“For ten seconds, he was Superman. How he found the strength to pull the driver of his cab, we will never know.”

Jimmy (57), a self-employed plant fitter, of Derwen Bach, Saron, had to bend a gear lever away from the man's stomach before he could drag him clear of his machine.

Quarry workers, who watched the excavator somersault as it plunged 80 feet from a ledge, say it is a miracle that the driver escaped with only minor injuries.

Jimmy, a former works manager at McAlpine's Cilyrychen Quarry, was repairing a pipeline 50 yards away when the accident happened, shortly after 11am on Monday.

“I just did what anyone else would have done in the circumstances,” he told the Guardian. “A man's life was on the line, so I had no choice.

“I have to admit, though, that my heart was in my mouth when I ran over. I could hear the driver screaming and I didn't know what I was going to find when I got there.”

Excavator driver Paul Lewis (48), of Riverside Terrace, St Clears, was treated in West Wales Hospital, Carmarthen, for minor head and arm injuries.

He was discharged later the same day, but is expected to be off work for the rest of the week to recover from his ordeal.

“It's thanks to Jimmy's bravery that I am still alive,” said Mr Lewis. “I haven't seen him yet. But when I do, I will be buying him a drink.”

The Quarry Inspectorate of the Health and Safety Executive has been called in to investigate the accident.

A spokesman for Alfred McAlpine said the company would be holding their own investigation. “I can't comment until that has been completed.” He added.

























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