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Man in wheelchair is rescued from river
A WEST Moors man with cerebral palsy plunged into the river in his wheelchair at Moors Valley Country Park.
Scott Bunter, 31, whose condition leaves him unable to walk, talk or feed himself, was with his mother and fulltime carer Donna and her partner Mark Miles, walking their dogs through the park when they stopped at a popular spot for the animals to take a dip on Sunday, September 22.
However, despite the brakes being on, Mr Bunter’s electric wheelchair slid sideways several feet down the wet path, tumbling both him and his mother into the water.
A passerby noticed the disturbance and ran to help, and he and Mr Miles were able to free Mr Bunter and get him to the bank.
It took another two passing men who joined them to pull the chair from the water.
Mrs Bunter said: “The chair is very heavy and it knocked me in and landed on me.
“I was lucky to be able to get free, but Scott was strapped into his chair and I had to hold his head above the water, I was terrified he was going to drown.”
“They were heroes, we couldn’t have got Scott free without them.”
Mr Bunter’s sister Charlotte said he was traumatised by the experience, and his chair was ruined.
“It doesn’t work now, and neither does his iPad which he needs to communicate.
It is like losing his legs and being gagged,” she said.
“The newly surfaced area is not safe and is horrendously slippery with no signs whatsoever.
“There used to be a bar that went across this pathway for safety but this was not there.”
Matti Raudsepp, head of leisure and open spaces at East Dorset District Council, confirmed that the new surface was laid recently as the previous gravel path was being eroded, and there was no safety barrier at the time of the incident, although it has since been replaced.
“The council is taking this incident very seriously and we are in communication with the family. An investigation is under way,” he said.
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