Tractor driver James Fletcher, who works for Chester-based contractor Mike Harley, had a lucky escape on 29 Feb when the field he was ploughing gave way underneath him.
He was on the final run of a sloping field near Alvanley near Widnes, when the bank he was on collapsed, sending an estimated 15,000 tonnes of soil sliding down the slope.
Mr Fletcher’s tractor and six-furrow plough was carried a quarter of a mile, turning through 360˚, crossing two fields and ending up half buried by soil. The process apparently took about thirty seconds.
“He described it as being like a tsunami of soil,” said Mike Harley. “We think it may have been the earthquake last week that shifted the soil, then the tractor vibration set it off.”
Not surprisingly, the tractor stalled during its out-of-control journey, but Mr Harley reckons it wouldn’t have made any difference even if the wheels had been driving. Amazingly, the Deere started again but had to be taken away on a low-loader. Mr Fletcher was shaken and shocked but otherwise unhurt.
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