How did he survive this? Lorry driver cheats death as he is rescued from his crushed cab after crashing head-on into broken down HGV on the M25
A lorry driver cheated death after his vehicle smashed into a broken down HGV on the M25.
Stefan Avadani, 38, was driving his lorry along the M25 on July 17 when it smashed into the back of the HGV which had broken down near Lakeside in Essex.
The father-of-one, from Grays, was trapped in his lorry after the crash and was crushed in the collision with the dashboard trapping his legs.
For the next hour, firefighters and paramedics fought to cut him free and rush him to hospital.
The 38-year-old suffered four fractured ribs, a fractured sternum, severe crushed leg syndrome, perforated lungs and needed stitching to his knees, head and hand.
Despite fears he would never walk again, doctors were able to save his legs and he is now on the road to recovery after his miraculous escape – though it is expected to take many months for him to heal up.
Stefan Avadani, 37, was crushed in the front of his lorry after it collided with another on the M25
The 38-year-old suffered four fractured ribs, a fractured sternum, severe crushed leg syndrome, perforated lungs and needed stitching to his knees, head and hand
Despite fears he would never walk again, doctors were able to save his legs and he is now on the road to recovery after his miraculous escape
Stefan had been nearing the end of his shift on the afternoon of the crash.
He said he remembers spotting a sign shortly before the collision, which warned drivers there was a stranded vehicle.
Stefan remembers pulling into the second lane to avoid a lorry and car, which were stationary in the first lane.
He then drove past them and pulled back into the first lane to continue the journey. What he didn’t realise, he claims, was that just moments after, there was another stranded lorry.
‘The last thing I remember was slamming on the brake and hearing something in my ears like a very strong noise and then I lost consciousness,’ Stefan said.
‘Then I woke up and I was in the lorry. It took me about five seconds to realise what happened.’
‘I thought that’s it, I’m never going to walk again’
Stefan managed to switch off the ignition and scrambled to try and take off his seatbelt as it crushed his chest.
‘It was a mess,’ he said. ‘I don’t know how I survived. I started feeling a very big pain on my legs and I saw the dashboard crushing my legs. I said [to myself] I need to start moving my legs but I tried to move and I couldn’t.
‘I kept doing that and at some point I started preparing myself for the worst. I thought that’s it, I’m never going to walk again, I have to get used to this.’
Stefan is incredibly grateful to the amazing emergency services and hospital staff
It didn’t take long for the emergency services to arrive, with numerous fire engines, police cars, ambulances and an air ambulance.
It took the crews around an hour-and-a-half to cut Stefan free from the vehicle before he was rushed to hospital
He remembers dozens of emergency workers doing everything they could to reassure him and get him out of the crushed lorry
It took the crews around an hour-and-a-half to cut Stefan free from the vehicle before he was rushed to hospital.
He remembers dozens of emergency workers doing everything they could to reassure him and get him out of the crushed lorry.
‘There were so many people,’ he said. ‘One of my main goals once I’m able to and healthy is to go and thank every single person that took part in this incident and go back to hospital.
‘They were such a professional team – that’s a job where you do not go for money, it’s just because you love human beings.
‘I think God gave me a second chance at life but without those professional people I wouldn’t be here.
‘Every single person thought I was not going to walk again but no one said that, they encouraged me and kept telling me it will be okay and I believed them – it made me stronger.’
‘They saved my leg’
At the hospital, Stefan was pumped with injections and quickly sent to the operating theatre. He remembers his legs were ‘nearly exploding’ where they had been cut off from his blood circulation for so long.
The crash happened on July 17 on the M25. Pictured before the crash with wife Jutka and son Yannis
At the hospital, Stefan was pumped with injections and quickly sent to the operating theatre. He remembers his legs were ‘nearly exploding’ where they had been cut off from his blood circulation for so long
‘At the beginning they thought they would have to amputate my leg and they told me this, I thought it was still a blessing to lose only one leg,’ he said.
‘I had the operation and they told me it went well and they had saved my leg.’
The bones in Stefan’s left leg had to be restructured because of the severe damage but the surgeons managed to save it.
After three weeks in hospital, Stefan was able to come home on August 7 with crutches and physio arranged.
He is doing well but looking at several months of recovery – meaning he won’t be able to work.
As the sole earner in his household, and with his wife Jutka spending her time caring for him, he fears they will not cope without financial support.
Hearing about Stefan’s situation, one of his close friends set up a fundraiser to start raising money for the family in their moment of need.
‘We didn’t have any savings as my wife has had to study the last five years and I have carried my whole family with only me working,’ Stefan said.
‘Luckily I have got some amazing friends who set up a fundraiser. I can’t express in words what it means – I am so glad and want to thank every single person – they helped so much in a very difficult time.’
Stefan’s six-year-old son Yannis is taking his father’s recovery well so far and has offered to bring his dad ‘whatever he wants’ at the ‘snap of his fingers’.
For Stefan, he only hopes that once he is back on his feet and recovered he can spend his life dedicated to his family.
‘I think that I have been given a second chance to complete my plan on Earth,’ he said.
‘I know have to change stuff in my life, it was a wake-up call. It was as emotional as well as it was terrible.
‘I used to wake up first thing in the morning and middle of night to go to work for ten, eleven, twelve hours. But instead of spending time in traffic, I would rather spend time with family.’