Bridge crash cyclist recovers in hospital after "horrific and traumatic" accident
A CYCLIST who was struck by a car and dragged for 20 metres in a "horrific and traumatic" accident on Ross Bridge, Penzance, is recovering in hospital with serious leg injuries.
John Rawles, a 71-year-old retired doctor from the Penzance area, was believed to have been hit from behind by a BMW driven by a local man at around 4.15pm last Friday.
Police, fire crews and paramedics, as well as the air ambulance, all attended the scene and Wharf Road was closed for several hours.
Two Penzance fire crews, assisted by a fire tender from Camborne, used lifting and cutting gear to raise the BMW to get to the injured cyclist.
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Fire crew manager Gary Rich said: "We were faced with a car on top of the cyclist who was also trapped against the side of the bridge.
"Once we'd lifted the car, we discovered that the cyclist had severe injuries to his lower body.
"He had been dragged for 15 or 20 metres underneath the BMW. It was one of the most horrific and traumatic accident scenes that I have been to."
Paramedics at the scene were anxious that the cyclist was transferred to hospital as soon as possible and the air ambulance landed near the entrance to the Wharfside car park around 20 minutes later before flying the man off for emergency treatment at Treliske. The driver of the BMW, who is from the Penzance area, was unable to get out of his car and a firefighter entered through the passenger door to help him out.
He was then taken by ambulance for treatment at West Cornwall Hospital.
PC Ronnie Henderson, the police officer in charge at the scene, said: "The car was being driven toward the docks and the driver seemed to lose control.
"The car collided with the railings on the bridge, then hit three other cars coming from the opposite direction before hitting the cyclist.
"The cyclist was trapped under the vehicle with life-threatening injuries; there were no injuries to any of the drivers or passengers in the other cars."
The incident resulted in Wharf Road and Ross Bridge being closed to traffic until the early hours of Saturday morning and there was widespread traffic chaos in the Penzance area late on Friday afternoon.
Penzance fire crews helped police officers at the scene until around 8pm before being stood down.
An investigation into the incident is ongoing and police have appealed for any witnesses to come forward. Phone Penzance police on 08452 777444.