Former mayor, 75, rescued after being trapped under pipe for five days while ‘taking shortcut to train station’

July 3, 2023, 12:01 PM | Updated: July 3, 2023, 12:28

Chris Cummins thought his savior was an angel

Chris Cummins thought his savior was an angel.

Image: GoFundMe


A former mayor in the west London area spent five days trapped under a pipe after he tried to take a shortcut to a train station.

Chris Cummins, 75, was finally saved from his ordeal by local footballers after he climbed down a pipe to avoid climbing a hill to catch a train from Barkingside Tube station in Redbridge, east London in February this year.

He was caught when he tried to crawl, and was unable to get himself out. She was trapped without food or water from Tuesday to Saturday – and having lost her cell phone the day before, she was unable to call anyone to free her.

Mr Cummins prayed and screamed for help – and was eventually saved by someone he thought was an angel.

Richard Eaton, the manager of Redbridge FC, the football club Cummins was trying to get away with, saved him from his agony after hearing the former mayor’s anguished cries.

Chris Cummins was saved

Chris Cummins was saved.

Image: GoFundMe


Mr Eaton and his colleagues found Mr Cummins, called emergency services and fed the unlucky retiree water through a straw until they arrived.

Mr Cummins then spent several months in hospital recovering, and had several of his toes amputated due to a pre-existing condition.

He told MailOnline: “I was probably so stupid. As I lay there I prayed – it was all I could do. Ricky and the others saved my life. I’ll be a little more careful in the future.”

Unfortunately, Mr. Cummins could have been saved twice before he was finally rescued, as people thought they heard his faint cries, but ignored them.

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Chris Cummins was the mayor of Redbridge in 2011

Chris Cummins was the mayor of Redbridge in 2011.

Picture: .


Mr Eaton said: “We can only imagine what he must have endured without food, drink or a blanket to keep himself warm. Chris was wearing a light jacket and without it we probably wouldn’t have him with us right now.

“Chris was heard calling out on Thursday night for a full 48 hours after he was first trapped, during an evening practice session by one person who stopped and screamed but couldn’t hear any response and thought it was someone from the subway station fiddling and give on the call.

“Again on Friday separate individuals heard cries for help and again called Chris to no avail, unfortunately neither the individuals nor Chris himself could hear any further calls from each other.

Mr Eaton said he and workers were at the club on Saturday when they heard Mr Cummins crying for help, and went looking for him.

He added: “We suddenly found him in a horrible position face down on the ground with no way to project his voice to be heard from the other side of the building.

“We immediately realized how serious her situation was and I called the ambulance and fire department to save her. I gave her a small cup of water with a straw while the others comforted her and asked basic questions that will help emergency services when they arrive.

“The fire department cut through the metal railing freeing Chris from one side before lifting him outside and treating him on the spot before rushing him to hospital.”

Mr Eaton said he will never forget the “pure joy” in Mr Cummins’ voice and face when they found him.

She added: “I remember Chris asking if I was an angel and the relief on his face overwhelmed us all.”

Mr Eaton has launched a fundraiser to support Mr Cummins to help “with his transition back to getting his life back to normal”.


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