Man seriously hurt as Volvo plunges 70ft from car park

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The Independent Online

A driver crashed his Volvo through a barrier yesterday and plunged 70 feet off a multi-storey car park.

The man, believed to be in his sixties, was seriously ill in hospital last night after the drop from level four of the five-storey council-run building in Canterbury, Kent.

The maroon M-registered Volvo 440 automatic ploughed into a metal sprung barrier and then over the edge of the building, landing on its roof on concrete below. At first police feared the car had landed on top of another. But it ended up in an empty private car-parking area. Its roof was completely caved in and the windows were shattered, The driver was helped out by firemen and taken to the Kent and Canterbury hospital where his condition was said to be serious.

The car landed in the road opposite the Canterbury branch of British Home Stores. The assistant manager, Suzanne Herron, said staff and customers heard a "very large bang". She said: "Nobody saw it actually fall, but everyone heard it. Members of the public ran to help and we called the emergency services."

An eyewitness, Julian Hicks, 21, a student from the city, said: "I just heard what seemed like the noise made when scaffolding is unloaded off a lorry, but I looked out and couldn't believe I was seeing the car falling. It seemed to take forever to reach the ground, but then there was the most almighty crash which reverberated on and on."

Lucy Bright, 32, a shopper who also lives locally said: "People were running to Rose Lane where the car ended up on its back. But the emergency services were there fairly quickly and cordoned the scene off."

Canterbury city council said it had launched an inquiry into the crash at the car park which sits on an island in the centre of the city. A spokeswoman confirmed that the multi-storey car park, which is built from reinforced concrete, was constructed in 1965.

The accident mirrors a Volvo car advertisement where one of its cars plunges from a building and lands without harming the vehicle or its dummy occupant.

Kent police said the incident was being treated as an accident. A police spokesman said: "We do not know what happened.

"It appears, somehow, that the car went over the edge and landed on its roof on the floor below. Miraculously the driver survived the crash and has been taken to hospital. Amazingly, no one else was hurt."