Firefighters thought St Helens man was dead after he was crushed in van for hours after crash

Michael Radford is a water engineer from St Helens Credit: MEN Media

A dad from St Helens says firefighters 'thought he was dead' after he was trapped in the wreckage of his van on the M56 for two hours.

Michael Radford, 39, 'woke up crushed' in his vehicle which was sandwiched between two lorries following the major crash as he queued in standstill traffic after missing his exit on his drive home.

Michael was rescued from the wreckage, on the M56 near junction 10 at Lymm, before being airlifted to hospital.

He suffered a fractured spine, several broken ribs and an eye injury.

The smash on the M56 Credit: MEN Media

Michael, a water mains engineer, said: "I don't remember much about the initial impact, I completely blacked out.

"Then, I regained consciousness and I woke up crushed. I couldn't see what was going on and I was out of it.

"It took the fire brigade around two hours to cut me out and I was airlifted to hospital. I had become wedged against my steering wheel and the front of the van was completely crushed to the size of a Ford KA. I was stuck.

"When the fire crews turned up, they told me they had thought I was dead with how badly damaged my van was. Even I look back at pictures now and ask myself how I am still alive."

Michael has been unable to work ever since the crash on 11 April and says he is scared at the thought of getting behind a wheel again following the 'traumatic' ordeal.

Michael was eventually cut from the wreckage and airlifted to Aintree Hospital. He has been having physiotherapy visiting a spinal specialist.

A photo taken from the scene of the crash Credit: MEN Media

Cheshire Police say a 39-year-old man from Bury had been arrested on suspicion of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

He was later released under investigation with enquiries into the incident still ongoing.

At the time, a spokesperson for Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service said five engines attended along with the Major Rescue Unit from Winsford.

A statement said: "Firefighters were called to a road traffic collision on the M56 involving two heavy goods vehicles and one van.

"The crews removed one person who was trapped in one of the vehicles and handed them to the care of paramedics.

"Lane one and two were closed while the incident was being dealt with and an Air Ambulance doctor also attended to deal with the casualty."

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