by Vanessa Cornall and Lisa Woodhouse

A MAN weighing an estimated 40 stones who had to be ‘craned’ from his home after needing urgent medical attention has died.

The man in his 40’s, named locally as David Hurst, had to be winched out of the upstairs front window of the home he shares with his elderly mother and brother Christopher yesterday.

Neighbours of Mr Hurst, in Belthorn Road, Belthorn, said they believed he had not left his house for around a decade.

One concerned neighbour said: “It was really shocking seeing the rescue unfold.

“There seemed to be fire engines everywhere and when they started to take the window out I was amazed.

“Mr Hurst was lifted out of the window by a cherrypicker. He is a very large gentleman.

“The emergency services deserve a medal for their kind actions.”

Fire crews from Blackburn, Darwen and Hyndburn were called to help with the rescue.

They removed the upstairs front window because Mr Hurst could not get out of the door.

They used specially designed bariatric equipment, which is used for overweight people, as part of the rescue.

Paramedics had initially been called at 1.40pm but found they were unable to move Mr Hurst themselves.

Mike Birks, crew manager from Blackburn fire station, said: “We had to make an assessment as to how to get this patient out of his bedroom. He was quite unwell.

“To get him down the stairs wasn’t an option.

“Hyndburn’s aerial ladder platform was requested and we have had to remove the window from the front of the property and use the crane facility so that we could hoist the patient on to the stretcher in the bedroom.

“Then the stretcher was attached to the ladder platform by a winch and then passed out of the window to the ambulance just like a crane.

“It was an awkward job.”

A fire officer from Darwen said paramedics had told crews Mr Hurst weighed approximately 40 stones.

He said: “We were informed with his weight as part of the operation so that we would know what equipment to use.”

Mr Hurst was then taken to hospital for treatment at Royal Blackburn Hospital and his death was confirmed today.

The neighbour said: “I have lived in Belthorn for 40 years and the Hurst family were here along time before me. The late Mr Hurst used to be a teacher at Witton Park High School.

“I have known something hadn’t been right at that house for a long time.

“I have tried to pop round and call on social services for help but nothing has been done.

“The garden had become overgrown and the curtains were permanently drawn.”

The ambulance service last night said it did not want to comment on the rescue.