Bell-ringer flicked upside down into cathedral bell tower in freak accident


An injured bell-ringer has described the moment a freak accident flipped him upside down leaving him with a fractured bone in his back.

Ian Bowman, aged 51, was winched down around 80ft to the floor of Worcester Cathedral after being pulled upside down in seconds when his foot was caught by a bell rope.

Mr Bowman, who is still able to walk despite the fracture, was among a party of bell-ringers visiting the cathedral on Saturday evening.

Pictures of the rescue posted on Twitter by fire crews show Mr Bowman - who was placed on a spinal board - being brought to the ground inside the cathedral, before he was taken to Worcestershire Royal Hospital.

Speaking from his home in Widecombe-in-the-Moor in Devon, Mr Bowman, who works as a mechanic, said: "We were raising the tenor bell, which takes two people, and the rope caught my heel.

"It pulled me up in the air and I came crashing down on the floor with a big bang."

Re-iterating thanks he passed on to paramedics and the emergency crew at the scene, Mr Bowman added: "The fire brigade came and took me down - they were amazing and the paramedics and hospital staff were excellent."

The experienced bell-ringer said of his injury: "It's pretty painful but it's just one of those things. It was just an accident - these things do happen sometimes in life.

"There were 20 of us there ringing. The rope went round my ankle and it took me from standing to upside down in seconds. It just flicked me upside down - that's what did the damage."

Following the incident, Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service Group Commander Grant Wills tweeted: "In attendance at Worcs Cathedral with @HWFireWorcs @HWFireMalvern for rescue of male from bell tower #notjustfires.

"Technical and challenging job to rescue one male from bell tower, professional crews a credit to the community they serve."