A pint-sized 55-year-old woman has been hailed a hero after she managed to save her friend’s life when he became trapped under a ride-on tractor lawnmower in a stream.
Nora McManus-Chambers, who is just 4ft 10ins tall, somehow managed to lift the 220kg (35 stone) machine off Stephen Machin after he fell 12ft down a bank.
The 65-year-old punctured a lung, broke several ribs as well as his wrist during the freak accident in Grosmont, Herefordshire, on the afternoon of June 13.
More worryingly, Mr Machin had landed face-down in the water with the heavy lawn mower on his back and was unable to move as he was pinned to the ground.
But brave Nora leapt into action and clambered down the culvert to muster superhuman strength to lift it enough to stop it forcing the air from his lungs.
Incredibly, the mum-of-three managed to hold the Husqovarna ride-on tractor lawnmower aloft for 40 MINUTES so retired solicitor Mr Machin could breathe.
He was in the brook for almost an hour before emergency services arrived to rescue him, but by that time his temperature had dropped to 34C and he was hypothermic.
An air ambulance with two intensive care doctors also attended the scene before Mr Machin was flown to hospital for urgent treatment.
He spent a week in Hereford County Hospital after undergoing two operations and he has now thanked his neighbour for undoubtedly saving his life.
Dad-of-five Mr Machin said doctors told him he had been ten minutes from death and would not have survived if it wasn’t for Nora’s courageous actions.
Cleaner Nora, who also injured her shoulder during the dramatic incident, said she just acted on instinct when she saw her friend in trouble.
She said: “I did what anybody would do really. I never actually thought about it, I just went to help him and would do it again.
“He was hurt and I did what I could do, I couldn’t lift the whole tractor but its not until after where you think how did I manage to lift that at all?
“Its the adrenaline that kicks in. The focus was to make sure he was OK because he was in a bad way.”
Mr Machin added: “I can’t thank Nora enough for what she did, it was unbelievable how she managed to lift it off me. She was like a superhero.
“If you asked her now to do it again it would be impossible. I’m 6ft 1ins and there’s no way I could lift or move it.
“On top of holding this giant lawn mower off me so I could breathe, she was talking to me the whole time to try and keep me conscious.
“She injured her shoulder in the process and was standing in a load of stinging nettles, which makes her actions even more incredible.
“As well as Nora I have to thank the two paramedics, who were also unbelievable and nursed me through what was a very difficult time.
“I was actually dying and they got me out of it it. Afterwards doctors told me I only had another ten minutes before I would have died.
“I was conscious of it but the emergency helicopter arrived and they checked me out with their modern equipment ,they had two intensive care doctors.
“Then the fire brigade arrived. It was beyond me but I gather from Nora they were unbelievably kind and helpful.
“I wanted to pay tribute to the emergency services who got me out of this hole, and particularly the nursing staff in Monnow ward at Hereford hospital.
“They were unbelievably good and absolute angels.
“It was just a freak accident, I had been mowing the grass outside my house and it decided to just skid, like it was on ice.
“I tried to jump off but I couldn’t and I just went down this embankment onto the river bed with this machine landing on top of me. I tried to shift it off my back but couldn’t.
“Nora should get all the recognition she deserves, its just incredible she managed to lift it.
“She’s still quite badly injured with her shoulder but she deserves all she can in terms of recognition.
“I couldn’t have done it without Nora, she saved my life.”