Injured Hatfield miner defies surgeons to bounce back

Richard Hodgkinson recovering at home with his wife Jayne after an horrific mining accident at Hatfield Colliery.
Richard Hodgkinson recovering at home with his wife Jayne after an horrific mining accident at Hatfield Colliery.

A brave father has defied doctors to survive a horrific mining accident which blasted hydraulic fluid into his body.

Richard Hodgkinson was 20 minutes from the end of his shift at Hatfield Colliery in Doncaster, when he was struck by a high-pressure hydraulic hose that came loose from overhead supports.

It struck the 51-year-old miner just above his left hip pumping fluid into his body, causing massive damage.

He said: “There was a massive explosion as the hose burst. It just caught me on the side knocking me over.

“When I tried to get up I could not move my leg. I couldn’t breathe and was struggling to take oxygen in.

“The hydraulic fluid had got inside my body, blasted its way around my back, cracked every rib and punctured my lung.”

The accident happened at the coalface nearly a mile down. The emergency services were alerted and a major rescue operation got underway.

Mr Hodgkinson added: “As I was being taken out I noticed a lump appeared on the side of my body.

“By the time we got to the surface it was up to my armpit and the size of a football – it was apparently my lung. It was just so frightening.”

Medics from Yorkshire Ambulance Service and the Yorkshire Air Ambulance stabilised him and he was airlifted to Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital in less than 10 minutes.

The speed of the journey saved his life.

Around 90 per cent of the muscle from Mr Hodgkinson’s hip and the top of his leg were damaged and muscle and nerves in his back were contaminated. He was placed in an induced coma for two and-a-half weeks and underwent nine operations.

Surgeons said they were astounded by his resilience and recovery and had never seen such injuries before.

The dad-of-two, from Woodhouse, Nottinghamshire, spent five weeks on the critical care unit and two weeks on a ward before being allowed back home where he is being cared for at home by his wife Jayne.

He added: “Before you would see an air ambulance flying over and never think in a million years that you will need them and then bang.

“If I had gone by road ambulance to hospital I would not be here today – it’s that simple. They do such an amazing job.”

Mr Hodgkinson’s family has raised more than £4,000 for the YAA since the incident and his colleagues donate money to the charity every month from their salaries.