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Reepham student's miracle escape

PUBLISHED: 09:49 07 April 2009 | UPDATED: 15:09 07 July 2010

A college student has spoken of his miraculous escape after he was thrown head first under the wheels of a lorry while riding a motorbike.

Jason Mawe, 19, who lives with his parents and three brothers near Reepham, was on his way to Norwich City College one morning last month when he lost his balance on a minor road and tumbled in the path of the oncoming eight-wheel lorry, which ran over his head and arm.

A college student has spoken of his miraculous escape after he was thrown head first under the wheels of a lorry while riding a motorbike.

Jason Mawe, 19, who lives with his parents and three brothers near Reepham, was on his way to Norwich City College one morning last month when he lost his balance on a minor road and tumbled in the path of the oncoming eight-wheel lorry, which ran over his head and arm.

He survived only because his helmet took the full force of the vehicle, but was left unconscious with severe crush injuries to his arm.

Mr Mawe, who is in his second year of a two-year national diploma IT course at City College Norwich, was only released from the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital on Saturday, April 4 -about three weeks after the crash a mile from his home on March 16.

While he remembers nothing of the accident or even the morning on which it happened, he says he is lucky to be alive.

He said: “The only thing I remember is waking up in hospital wondering why I was there. It was pretty weird. I was not in pain but it was frightening.

“When my dad told me what had happened a few days later I was shocked. It was pretty scary. I am really lucky to have survived.”

He suffered only a minor graze to his head, while the helmet, which is still with the accident investigators, was smashed to pieces.

He is still being treated for his arm injury. The weight of the lorry over his arm caused compound fractures to the top and bottom of the ulna and left bone protruding from his lower arm and a lot of flesh missing between the elbow and wrist.

Debris and dust from the road also got into the wound, which had to be cut away along with muscle and tendon to avoid infection.

His elbow was crushed and has been replaced by metal and a three-by-12 ins section of skin was removed from his leg to use as a skin graft, and while the surgery has gone well overall, the graft is not taking as well as hoped.

It is still possible he will need to have his arm amputated, something he dreads. He added: “I don't know how I would cope.”

He is able to move his hand but cannot move his arm up and down, but he is still hoping to return to his part time job, preparing deliveries at Sainsbury's at Longwater Retail Park, in a few weeks, and catch up with his studies.

Despite the fright, he says he may ride again in the future, although his dad Andrew, 46, a cleaning contractor, has bought him a car.

Jason added: “I needed the bike to get from A to B. There wasn't really an alternative for me, apart from being dropped off at college by my mum every day. I also needed it as I have to go to work really early at 6am.”

The accident came as a big shock for the family. Jason's older brother Lee, 21, and mother Jenny, 39, a housewife, were among the first on the scene after coming across the aftermath by chance minutes later.

Lee, who is currently looking for work, said: “When I first saw him lying there I thought he was dead. There was a lot of blood coming out of his mouth, and on the ground. It was such a relief when I found out he was going to live.”

It was also a shock to his younger brothers, Jamie, 14, a pupil at Reepham High School, and Ben, six.

Jamie said: “It was really upsetting to know he could have died. It's just lucky he didn't.”

The family are in almost daily contact with the lorry driver, who looked after Jason before the paramedics arrived. No party is being blamed for the crash, which has been put down to a freak accident.

Jason braked on his 125cc UC125 Suzuki motorbike seeing a stationary car up ahead, but did so slightly too late, clipping the car very gently and losing his balance.

Andrew Mawe added: “The driver did a great job looking after Jason until the paramedics arrived, and I thank him for that. The paramedics were also absolutely brilliant.

“They probably saved his life.”

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