11/12/2013 11:22 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Heroic Bystanders Lift Car Crushing Female Cyclist In Time For Paramedics To Arrive

A group of bystanders were hailed as heroes today after freeing a woman cyclist trapped under a car in east London.

The 10 passers-by physically heaved the VW car off the trapped woman to allow paramedics to treat her.

Speaking to the Standard from her hospital bed today, she said: “They saved my life.”

Fashion photographer Claire Pepper, 27, was cycling home from her studio in Hackney when she was struck by a car in Spitalfields just after 8.30pm last night.

She became trapped beneath the VW Golf after the collision in Commercial Street and paramedics could not reach her.

As they were forced to wait for fire crews to free her, a group of passers-by and motorists stepped in to help.

They surrounded the car and rolled it onto its side allowing ambulance crews to reach the patient, who was thought at the time to be critically ill.

Ms Pepper, who has shot fashion pictures for Elle and Topshop, thanked them for her miracle escape: “I cannot thank them enough, I was super lucky, I could have died.”

She added that she was also saved by her cycle helmet which was virtually destroyed in the collision - and which she only bought two days ago.

The photographer suffered concussion and a broken collar bone but cannot remember anything about the collision itself.

She says: “The last thing I remember is cycling from work in Kingsland Road. I woke up at about 2am this morning but I have no recollection of what happened. If I had not been wearing my helmet I would have died. “

Among those who rushed to help the trapped cyclist were cab drivers from nearby firm Cityman.

Ahmed Yusuf, 44, was one of the group along with Shehryar Taj, 20, as well as two other drivers also helped to hold up the heavy vehicle.

Mr Taj said: "We were glad we could help the poor woman. There was a lot of noise outside so we went to see what was happening.

“We held the car up for as long as we could. The woman was unconscious and we were doing everything we possible."

The drivers said the car was very heavy and it all their strength to hold it up.

"We hope the woman recovers and we wish her the best. It was all very upsetting."

Their actions were praised by London ambulance chiefs and other bystanders.

Ambulance service duty officer Nick Osborne said: “Their quick-thinking actions enabled us to get treatment to her as soon as we got to the scene, which will have definitely helped her chances of survival.”

A security worker described how there was a "boom" as the bicycle collided with the car.

The man, who only wanted to be known as Nick, said: "It seemed that both the bike and the car were turning into the same road.

"The woman was stuck under the car and had her arms stretched out and looked in a bad way. A group of people were holding up the car - they were heroes."

Witness Amelie Mettenheimer, 27, from Spitalfields, said: “You could see that there was a car in the middle of the crossing...then we walked across the street and then you could see the feet underneath the car. We could see someone talking to her and everyone was on the phone calling the ambulance.”

Ms Pepper’s boyfriend, Jonathan Gales, 27, who was at her bedside today, said: ”The police officer who was at the scene told me that people physically liufted the car off her. She has pretty bad concussion but she is lucky to be alive.”

Mr Gales, who runs an animation company in Brixton, said the couple had just bought a flat together in Brockley.

He said: “I was told she was trapped by her head. Her helmet is pretty much destroyed.”

Ten cyclists have been killed on London’s roads this year.

Francis Golding, 69, a fellow at the Royal Institute of British Architects and former secretary of the Royal Fine Art Commission, died in hospital at the weekend three days after the crash in Holborn.

It came as another cyclist was seriously hurt today after being struck by a bus in south London.

The 46-year-old man is in a serious condition in hospital after the collision in Kennington Park Road at around 8.45 am. The bus driver stopped at the scene. He has not been arrested.



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