Paramedics unable to reach injured man in Battle woodland

Philip Millen
Philip Millen

A walker was left in pain with a broken leg in woodland after paramedics were unable to reach him due to a locked barrier.

Philip Millen, 53, of Holliers Hill, Bexhill, was out with his partner Yvette Debarr and their dogs on Saturday morning (April 2), enjoying a walk in Battle Great Wood when he was knocked off his feet by another dog.

He sustained a broken tibia and torn ligament in his left leg as a result of the fall, which happened at around 10.45am.

Yvette said: “The dog, which was quite a big Alsatian, knocked Phil clean off the ground. We were busy putting our own dogs onto leads to prevent any dramas when the dog bounded into Phil.

“It had run towards one of the dogs I was caring for. The way the dog hit Phil meant his left leg was pushed in the wrong direction, causing him to break his tibia and completely tear his ligament.”

She added her partner managed to struggle to a bench using a stick while she dialled for an ambulance.

Yvette, who lives in Kent, said: “The paramedics arrived quickly and were brilliant but the barrier at the car park by the woods was locked. The padlock is encased in a steel box and the ambulance crew were unable to get the padlock off.”

As a result, paramedics had to walk half a mile to reach Philip, a self-employed car dealer.

Yvette, 47, added: “We do understand that not everywhere is accessible for emergency services. However it is frustrating there is vehicle access to these woods but we couldn’t get access when the ambulance needed to get in. What if Phil had had a heart attack or head injury?”

She said her partner was now unable to work for eight weeks, as his left leg is entirely in plaster cast.

A spokesman for the Forestry Commission, which manages the land, said: “We were sorry to hear about the incident at the weekend where a visitor was knocked down and injured by someone else’s dog.

“Although we don’t have any information about the owner of the out-of-control dog, we have spoken to the people affected and are pleased to hear the injured man is recovering.

“Unfortunately, to protect England’s forests that we manage from theft, flytipping, illegal off-roading and other antisocial behaviour we are forced to lock many access gates. Some local emergency services, such as the fire service have keys or codes for locks and we are in contact with the local ambulance service to see if there is anything we should change as a result of this unfortunate incident.”

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