Dartmouth's miracle man: Ray Carter is back home recovering from only minor injuries after being run over by his own dumper truck.

The 47-year-old truck driver, of Lake Street, Dartmouth, says he is amazed that he didn't suffer more serious injuries in the accident.

He told this week how he fell from the truck and lay on the ground watching the massive wheels coming closer and closer.

The front wheel went completely over his body, but he just managed to move out of the way before the rear wheels, which support the heavy engine, reached him.

The accident happened last week at a Dittisham landfill site where he was emptying skips.

Mr Carter, who works for DB Skips, said the ground was in a bad condition because of awful weather conditions for some days and rain on the day of the accident.

He was catapulted from the vehicle when one of its wheels hit a deep rut and stopped suddenly.

The load of earth he was carrying flew out of the dumper, closely followed by Mr Carter himself, and luckily the mud cushioned his fall.

He said: 'I thought "that's it," but luckily I fell on to the soft earth and the wheels of the truck just pushed me into it. The earth definitely saved my life. I heard a cracking noise and thought it was my bones breaking.'

The story would have been different if the accident had happened on his previous trip when he had been carrying a load of stone.

Devon Air Ambulance flew Mr Carter to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital where it was discovered that he had dislocated his shoulder. He also suffered from bruises on his legs and other parts of his body.

Dave Britton, who owns DB Skips, refused to comment about the accident. But Mr Carter stressed that it was 'just one of those things'. He will be off work for at least four weeks.

One thing that is high on Mr Carter's agenda is a visit to the Exeter base of the Devon Air Ambulance to thank the crewmen personally and give the charity a donation.

A spokesman for the Health and Safety Executive said this week: 'Our inspector is making initial enquiries and we will be asking the company for its safety report and observations on the incident.'