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Oil tanker driver ‘airlifted’ after crashing into building in Highland village

An oil tanker driver has been airlifted to hospital after crashing into a building in a Highland village.

Shoppers fled for their lives as the vehicle hit a car and then careered into the former Scotmid on High Street in Beauly.

Seven fire crews, as well as a heavy rescue team, police and ambulance crews were called to the scene at about 12.45pm.

The driver of the Johnston Oil tanker has been taken to hospital.

The street has been closed off, and it is understood work will begin shortly to remove the tanker from the wall.

Part of a concreate wall along the street – stained with the tankers paint work – has been completely knocked over and there is debris strewn across the road.

Work to remove the tanker is due to begin soon. Picture by Sandy McCook.

‘I almost died’

Ian Dingwall, 31, from Kirkhill, said he “almost died” as the lorry came towards him as he walked down the street.

He said he was outside the old Scotmid at the time of the crash, with the lorry almost ploughing into him.

“It was crazy – I was shaking,” he said.

A second eyewitness claimed the driver “smashed the bollards at the Scotmid and swerved into the buildings housing the fruit and veg shop.”

They recalled the incident as “very scary”.

Another eyewitness said that shortly after the crash, the “wounded” driver was helped out of the tanker by a passer-by.

Someone who was inside the building at the time of the crash then made their way out.

A fourth eyewitness described “a big bang” at the time of the accident.

Incident involving a tanker in Beauly. Picture by: Sandy McCook

Shoppers were also evacuated from The Corner on the Square deli, while parents travelling from Muir of Ord to pick up their children from Beauly Primary School were advised to find an alternative route.

Kate Forbes, MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch said the crash was “really concerning”.

She posted to Twitter: “My thoughts are with anybody who has been hurt.

“I’m monitoring the situation and can offer any help to the business affected.”

Due to an unfortunate accident at the old Co-op building we have had to evacuate the deli & fruit shop until further…

Posted by Corner on the Square on Thursday, 16 September 2021

A police spokeswoman said: “Around 12.45pm on Thursday, 16 September, we received a report of a crash on High Street in Beauly involving a lorry which has struck a car and a building.

“Emergency services are in attendance and the road has been closed.”

A fire spokesman said: “We got the call from police at 12.47pm , in attendance are appliances from Dingwall, Inverness and the heavy rescue unit.

“In total we have seven plus specialist units and our urban search and rescue unit on route.”

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This article originally appeared on the Evening Express website. For more information, read about our new combined website.