Paramedics hope a contractor injured in an accident at an abattoir on Tuesday will not lose his sight after he was airlifted to a trauma centre in Southampton.

The incident took place at around 10.30am at Stiles’ abattoir in Bromham when the man in his 30s, who has not been named, was testing a pressurised system at the abattoir at Sloperton Farm, Westbrook, when the equipment he was working with blew up in his face.

Ross Culligan, one of the air ambulance paramedics who was on the scene within a few minutes, said the man had suffered potentially life-changing injuries, but was conscious throughout the ordeal.

Mr Culligan said: “He was very distressed and in great pain. “He had no vision at the time we were there and it was vital that we got him to a trauma centre that dealt with eye injuries.

“There is a centre like this attached to Southampton General Hospital and we got him there in 15 minutes. We remain optimistic that his sight can be saved but only time will tell.

“This was only possible by being able to get him to the treatment centre as quickly as we did. “If we had had to take him by ambulance it could have taken an hour and a half and by that time it could have been too late.

“It is thanks to the people of Wiltshire that we have a facility like the air ambulance and we hope we can rely on their support for many years to come.”

With Captain George Lawrence at the controls and Mr Culligan keeping the patient pain free with morphine and other drugs, police observer PC Kev Reed assisted as well.

PC Reed said: “This man sustained very serious injuries but hopefully the speed with which we got him to hospital will save his sight.”

It is understood that the victim was not employed by the abattoir but had come in as a contractor to carry out tests on the pressurised system there.

Police officers attended the scene but left the investigation to the Health and Safety Executive. An HSE inspector visited the abattoir on Tuesday afternoon and a report will follow in due course.

A spokesman for Stiles said the company did not want to comment on the incident but said they were hopeful the injured man would make a full recovery.

A spokesman for the Health and Safety Executive said: “We are aware of the event that took place at the abattoir in Bromham on Tuesday and we are investigating.”

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