An 84-year-old man had a narrow escape when the stairlift he was using in his council house came free from the wall and he was thrown backwards in the seat.
The pensioner managed to make a last-second grab for the handrail, preventing him from falling down the stairs.
According to a local newspaper, the man, who lives in a home owned by Exeter City Council, did not suffer any injuries.
He told the newspaper that he does not blame anyone for the incident and the council is reported to have launched an investigation as soon as it became aware of what had happened.
The property in question recently had tiles around first floor entrances replaced so they have 2019 slip-rating certification. But it is claimed that tiles supporting the legs of the stairlift were also removed, meaning its rails could come free from the wall.
The elderly resident told Devon Live that workmen have been working on the balconies at the property.
He said that as the stairlift he was using turned at the top of the stairs it “suddenly went out sideways” and “tossed” him back.
“Had I not managed to grab the handrail on the stairs I would have gone straight down. It’s a stone staircase all the way down so had I not been able to hold on I would have been dead,” he said.
According to the report, the property was visited by an engineer on the evening of the incident so the stairlift could be moved as it was blocking the stairway. It was visited again shortly after so the stairlift could be used again.
A city council spokesman told the newspaper: “We responded as soon as we became aware of the situation, are in touch with the tenant and actively investigating the circumstances.”