A WOMAN is fighting for her life after a horror smash in which a digger fell from a lorry and crushed a car.
Eyewitnesses said the two vehicles collided near the railway bridge on the eastbound carriageway of the A194 at Leam Lane, near Fellgate, Jarrow, at 11am yesterday.
The accident caused one of three diggers being transported on the lorry to spin around, crash into the central brick supporting wall of the bridge and then topple onto the Vauxhall Antara.
Firefighters from Hebburn spent more than an hour cutting the woman, who is in her thirties, free, before she was airlifted to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary by the Great North Air Ambulance (GNAA), with serious head and facial injuries.
Her condition was described as “critical but stable” by police last night.
Two other passengers, who are believed to have been an elderly woman and child, managed to free themselves and they were taken to South Tyneside District Hospital, in South Shields, for treatment.
Crew manager, Davey Burns, of Hebburn Fire Station, said. “When we arrived at the scene it became apparent that a digger, the type which might remove earth, had fallen off the back of the lorry and on to the car.
“It seems as though the lorry had hit the bridge and the digger had then swung round before falling off.
“The two people in the back of the car were walking wounded, but we spent more than an hour cutting the driver free, before they were taken by air ambulance to hospital.”
A spokesman from the GNAA said: “We assisted with this very serious road traffic collision which involved a car and a JCB style vehicle. The doctor-led trauma team anaesthetised a female in her thirties, after she suffered serious face and head injuries.
“She was flown to the RVI in a critical condition, the flight took just four minutes.”
Metro trains were suspended between Pelaw and Brockley Whins, as safety checks were carried out on the bridge.