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Man dies trying to help dig car out of the snow

PUBLISHED: 14:40 03 March 2018 | UPDATED: 06:59 05 March 2018

Snow drifts have engulfed many roads in Norfolk and Waveney. Picture: Nick Butcher

Snow drifts have engulfed many roads in Norfolk and Waveney. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2018

A man who got out of his car in sub-zero conditions to help a fellow motorist has died after reportedly suffering a heart attack.

Snow in Norwich. Kiera ODonoghue and Cameron Russell who have been helping people out of the snow, with their 4x4, on Stoke Road, near Arminghall. 1/3/2018. Picture: ANTONY KELLY Snow in Norwich. Kiera ODonoghue and Cameron Russell who have been helping people out of the snow, with their 4x4, on Stoke Road, near Arminghall. 1/3/2018. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The man, who was believed to be from Lowestoft but it has since been revealed was actually from Mattishall, near Dereham, was stuck on a back road in Bergh Apton on Thursday when a couple helping free cars using their 4x4 came across him.

Kiera O’Donoghue, 23, and her partner Cameron Russell, 20, have spent hours over the last few days to free stricken motorists on the county’s roads.

But yesterday (Thursday), while on their way home to Cranworth Gardens, Norwich, the couple came across a number of cars stuck on Burgate Lane.

Miss O’Donoghue said: “We were coming home and we thought we would check the back roads, a couple of them were clear but as we went down one loads of people were stuck.

“We went over and there was this man who had got to of his car and had a heart attack, and fallen to the floor.”

The pair - who are both farmers - stayed and comforted the man’s wife, and while she went with paramedics they looked after the couple’s dog and took the abandoned car to their home.

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Miss O’Donoghue added: “It’s horrendous. He was just coming out for a normal day, they were going on holiday to Mexico and were dropping their dog off. The worst of it is the person in front was stuck so he was going to see if he could help, his car was stuck as well.”

The couple said they took the man’s wife back to the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital (NNUH) this morning, and would also be helping with funeral arrangements.

Miss O’Donoghue said: “Obviously our thoughts are with the family, he must have been so frozen, it’s horrendous.”

A spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Trust (EEAST) said: “We were called to reports of a patient who wasn’t breathing in Alpington, Norwich, on Thursday, March 1.

“Two ambulances and an ambulances officer were dispatched and battled through the snow to reach the patient, who was taken to hospital in a critical condition.”

Why do people die while shovelling snow?

Cardiologist Barry Franklin, an expert in the hazardous effects of snow removal, said hundreds of people die every year from shovelling snow as they “don’t have any idea how taxing it is on the heart.”

Dr Franklin and his team found heart rate and blood pressure increased more while shovelling snow than when exercising on a treadmill.

He told the BBC: “Combine this with cold air, which causes arteries to constrict and decrease blood supply, you have a perfect storm for a heart attack.”

Dr Franklin said shovelling snow was so dangerous that no one over the age of 55 should do it.

And that straining to move wet or heavy snow was more likely to cause a surge in heart rate and blood pressure.

The NHS has also warned people are more at risk of heart attacks in cold weather.

For every degree the temperature drops below 5C, there is a 10pc increase in the number of older people who suffer breathing difficulties.

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