Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home News UK

M20 bridge collapse academic en route to Belfast tells of 'miracle' escape

By PA Reporters

Published 29/08/2016

The scene on the M20 after the lorry hit the bridge
The scene on the M20 after the lorry hit the bridge
Alex Magaisa, who got caught up in the drama

A man travelling to Northern Ireland has told of his miracle escape after a motorway footbridge almost collapsed on top of his family's car.

The bridge came down shortly after noon on Saturday when a digger being transported on the back of a lorry collided with it.

A motorcyclist in his 50s was taken to hospital in Tunbridge Wells with suspected broken ribs and the driver of the lorry was treated for shock at the scene.

A major incident was declared on the main route to the Channel Tunnel and the port of Dover.

Alex Magaisa was driving past the lorry involved just as the bridge collapsed, with his wife and two young sons in the car.

They were on their way to Gatwick Airport to catch a flight to Belfast to see family for the bank holiday weekend.

The 41 year-old University of Kent lecturer said: "My instinct was just to drive through. My wife saw the bridge falling and there was a big noise. I had to manoeuvre through the debris.

"We stopped afterwards for about 30 minutes, and there was another car with a family behind us. Luckily no one seemed to have been hurt.

"It was a big shock. It's only just starting to sink in now what might have happened. We were right in the line of fire and we could have been crushed."

Mr Magaisa, who is originally from Zimbabwe, was one of many who posted images on social media showing remains of the footbridge.

"Life is borrowed time," he later wrote on Facebook.

"I'm just happy we have survived this disaster. We were driving parallel to those two trucks when the bridge collapsed on the M20.

"It could have been our car but I guess the height of those trucks intervened. The Hand of Mercy probably.

"How we managed to get through unscathed is truly a miracle. I don't know but I'm humbled by the gift of life. Only when you go through such an experience, as close a shave as any, do you realise that we live on borrowed time and each moment matters a great deal.

"It must be cherished."

Belfast Telegraph

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph