Taxi driver hurt in UK blast says it’s a miracle he’s alive

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Ex-hiker who suffered chest and shoulder injuries says blast ‘was like a sonic boom’

Taxi driver hurt in UK blast says it’s a miracle he’s alive

A taxi driver has told how he survived a powerful explosion caused by a fertiliser plant explosion in the north of England.

Ivor Benites, who had been pursuing a round-the-world trek with his wife Linda when they decided to take a detour to visit a fertiliser plant in Newquay, Cornwall, was found lying next to the windscreen of their rented Volkswagen and suffering from chest and shoulder injuries.

The 57-year-old, who recently launched his latest venture, an apartment block conversion, had been describing the morning with Linda to a friend outside when he suddenly recalled a motorbike accident involving a rogue migrant who had shot at their car.

“I got a little bit too close and it was like a sonic boom from the other side of the road,” Benites said.

“There was a huge flash of light and a big blast. I was all over the place, I felt like I had been shot through the car window and onto the ground. I could not move my arms or legs.”

The 53-year-old wife said: “It just went up in one big explosion. It was so powerful, we jumped out of the car and I knew something terrible had happened.”

Benites was airlifted by the RAF to Trentham hospital, Chester, and suffered burns to his hands and hands and smoke inhalation.

He was operated on for throat and chest infections but his injuries are more minor than first feared.

“It’s a miracle I’m alive,” he said. “The bolt that tore through my chest almost ripped it off but I managed to patch it back together with my jaw.”

Benites believes he is unlikely to ever be able to lift his arms again but he managed to display his “very good” resolve during hospitalisation.

“I thought, I’ve just broken my hand but in life you have to pick yourself up and carry on with it,” he said.

The couple recently moved to the northern town of Wrexham, north Wales, from the Mediterranean. They were described as “amazing people” by the owners of the equipment, which was kept in the new apartment block in Cornwall.

Jim Holloway, 60, who owned the £500,000 building, said: “They were pretty happy people. It’s almost miraculous they survived the blast.”

The couple also paid tribute to the operator of the facility.

“He’s a very nice man who has nothing to do with the business, just collects all the containers,” Benites said.

“I find it very strange what happened but it didn’t deter us from visiting the place again. I got to talking to the man and he said he has been in the equipment business since the 1970s and has never been affected by any incident.”

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