A man has been airlifted to hospital in a critical condition after a JCB accident on a South Tyneside housing development.
The man - who is in his 40s - was injured at Riverside Village, off Station Road in Hebburn, shortly before 11.30am today.
The Great North Air Ambulance landed on Riverside Field and the victim was taken to Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) in a ‘critical but stable’ condition.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has launched an investigation into the incident.
A retired nurse told the Gazette how she ran over to the scene of the accident to try an help and comforted the injured man.
The woman, who didn't want to be named, said: "I just heard the crying so I knew someone was hurt. It was about 11am, I ran straight over to see if I could help. The site manager had already phoned for an ambulance, so I just stayed to give the man some reassurance until the ambulance came then I left."
Another resident added: "I heard screams but had no idea what was going on. Then I heard the helicopter. That's as much as I know. I hope the man is ok."
A Great North Air Ambulance Service spokesman said: “We were called at 11.28am to a construction site in Hebburn after reports of an injured male.
“He is a man in his early 40s.
“He sustained serious chest and abdominal injuries.
“We were called along with the North East Ambulance Service.
“The man was flown to Newcastle’s RVI Hospital in a critical but stable condition.
Officers from Northumbria Police were called at the scene.
A spokesman added: "Police were called the Riverside development off Station Road, at 11.42am today after reports of a collision
"Officers attended the scene and found a man had injuries from a JCB from within the confounds of the development - suffering serious injuries.
"He was taken to Newcastle's RVI by air ambulance. The health and safety executive has been notified."
A HSE spokesman said: “We are aware of the incident and inspectors have visited the site today.
“An investigation is now under way.”
John Eynon, managing director of Persimmon Homes North East, who manage the estate, said: “We are currently working closely with both the police and the Health & Safety Executive, and it would not be appropriate to comment until a full investigation has been carried out.”