Man lay crushed beneath huge lawn mower for two hours after freak golf course accident

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A man has told how he thought of his wife and kids as he lay crushed beneath a massive mower for nearly two hours on a golf course.

Stuart Griffiths broke his pelvis and coccyx when the machine plummeted down a steep embankment and pinned him under it.

The 44-year-old, who is the course keeper at Pitlochry and Blair Atholl golf courses, had been tending some tees when it fell down the steep hill and crushed his legs underneath prompting an emergency response.

A fence post stopped the machine entirely crushing him as fire engines and an air ambulance had to be drafted into the dramatic nearly two-hour rescue back in June.

Stuart told the Daily Record : “The golf was just starting up again, I had worked all through furlough, and I was working with the machine.

“I still don’t know how it happened. I got near the edge of an embankment and it just fell from me.

“It was crushing my legs, shoulder and the bottom half of my body.

“It was in a very precarious position about 1.5metres from the edge of a steep hill.

“But luckily a fence post was stopping the heavier part of it going on my head.

“I never in my life thought I’d be in that position and hopefully I never am again.

“I am very lucky.”

Stuart then phoned his pal Greg Carruthers, a director at the course, but also a retained firefighter from the nearby station.

He said: “I usually keep my phone in my right pocket but luckily that day it was in my left so I could reach it and phone

“Within five minutes he had arrived and was there keeping me calm.

“I don’t know why I thought to phone him when most people would have rang 999.

“The fire brigade came and looked but the medical staff couldn’t get near me so I wasn’t allowed any pain relief.

“It was very painful and it felt like it was getting heavier but I was trying to keep focused.

“I was thinking of my wife Gillian and two daughters and my work and what could happen.

“I’m a relatively calm person but you do think about a lot when you are there for one hour and 45 minutes.”

The fire brigade managed to hoist the machine “inches” from the ground and Stuart was eased out before he was airlifted to Ninewells hospital in Dundee after the early morning incident on June 25.

Stuart is now recovering with physiotherapy after undergoing operations and having pins and plates inserted into his pelvis.

The keen golfer hopes to return to work as soon as possible.

He added: “I’m lucky to have a job I absolutely love and have been doing since I was 17.

“If I could go back tomorrow I would.

“But we need to see how this goes. I would be looking to go back at some level next month.”

As a special thanks to his rescuers, Stuart has organised a charity Four Ball raffle to raise funds for Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance.

At the time of writing his drive, which includes the chance to play at top courses throughout Scotland and abroad, has brought in more than £6,000.

Stuart added: “My accident became quite well known in the golf world and I’ve been so impressed by people and courses coming forward with offers.

“It really is a good cause.”

A fundraising post from Stuart adds: “I was very lucky to escape with a broken pelvis and some minor cuts and bruises . After 13 days in hospital and successful surgery I am at home making great progress and will make a full recovery.

“To say thank you for the amazing work the air ambulance does, I will be running a raffle of Golf four balls. All funds will go to the Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance.”

Niall McGill, director of golf at the courses, said: “We wish Stuart a speedy recovery.

|Stuart does a fantastic job as our course manager at Pitlochry Golf Course and our sister course at Blair Atholl.

“Since arriving at Pitlochry Stuart has transformed the condition of the courses and he is well respected within the greenkeeping industry.

“The number of 4-ball vouchers that have been donated to Stuart’s fundraising cause is testament to just how popular he is and how much everyone wishes him well.

“Stuart’s team have all stepped up to the mark in his absence and continued to present our golf courses in fantastic condition, in what are very testing times.

“The air ambulance is an amazing asset and does fantastic work. Being based in Perthshire, was very lucky for Stuart and made the response to his accident very speedy.”