A FACTORY worker had to be rescued after being crushed from the waist down by an eight-tonne machine.

Emergency crews were called to Con Mech engineering firm, Harelaw Industrial Estate, Annfield Plain, County Durham, in the early hours of yesterday.

A man in his 20s was trapped between two pieces of machinery on a railway track at the plant.

He suffered multiple broken bones and major trauma, after the machine moved along the track and wedged him against a static piece of equipment.

Firefighters had to use hydraulic lifting equipment to remove the machine and release the man.

He was then taken to the University Hospital of North Durham, Durham City.

A police spokesman said the man’s injuries, although serious, were not lifethreatening.

Fire bridge watch manager Andrew Bennett, who is based at Consett fire station, said fire and rescue crews from both Consett and High Handenhold were called to Con Mech at about 1am.

A specialist tender was also sent from Bishop Auckland and fire and rescue personnel were at the scene for about two hours.

Mr Bennett said: “A man had become trapped between a moving piece of machinery on a railway track and a static machine.

“He was stuck from the waist down.

He had severe injuries, including broken bones, and he was suffering extreme trauma to the lower part of his body.

“The piece of machinery measured about five metres by three metres and weighed between seven and eight tonnes.

“We used hydraulic lifting equipment to lift the machine off the track, so the man could be released.”

Bob Beetham, the director of the firm’s heat treatment division, said: “It is too soon to make a proper statement because we are still getting information and a full inquiry is taking place.

“We are extremely concerned for the lad.”

A spokeswoman for the Health and Safety Executive said: “We are aware of the incident.

An inspector will be visiting the site and we are investigating.”