A man suffered serious injuries after plummeting several feet in a malfunctioning lift at B&Q in New Malden.

Rafik Gaffar, 57, was shopping at the busy hardware store in New Malden early on Wednesday (July 24) and using the in-store lift when the incident happened, with the lift reportedly malfunctioning and plunging several feet to the ground.

Doctors told him that he had fractured a bone in his neck from the accident, which has left him in severe and ongoing pain.

Speaking to the Comet, Mr Gaffar described his traumatic ordeal in further detail.

"I was in the lift and it came down with a thud as if it was out of control — it was quite scary really.

"At the time I did not realize how badly I was hurt, but I was stuck in the lift for a considerable time," he said.

Mr Gaffar went on to recount how an alarm had sounded after the accident happened, but was not responded to by management at the store until a member of the public alerted them to the situation.

Eventually, B&Q staff members were able to open the lift and help him get out.

After that, he was taken to hospital where his severe injuries were confirmed.

"I was told by the hospital that I had broken a bone in my neck...I was later told that the cause of the pain was also due to ligament damage," Mr Gaffar said.

"They told me that, even if the bone in my neck starts to heal, the site of the injury will be protruding around the nerves which are very sensitive, and I would have to have surgery at some point in the future.

"I was not allowed out of bed for 36 hours because of the risk of spinal damage. I'm really suffering — I can't stand the pain," he added.

After speaking with Mr Gaffar, the Comet contacted B&Q about the incident and received the following statement in response:

"We can confirm that there was a customer complaint involving a passenger lift in our New Malden store on July 24th 2019. 

"Following initial contact with the customer we are still waiting to hear back from them, so we are unable to share any further details.

"We take the health and safety of our customers very seriously. All of our lifts are regularly maintained and we have a thorough process in place to check all equipment meets health and safety requirements.

"Following the complaint, we have conducted an additional inspection on the passenger lifts at the New Malden store and the engineer's report has confirmed that all lifts are in working order," a spokesperson for B&Q said.

Mr Gaffar said that he had not been able to respond to B&Q yet as he was still too poorly to muster an appropriate response.

He also described how he and his family had been disappointed with the response of the management at B&Q New Malden in the wake of the accident.

"My wife spoke to the manager of the store and told him I was lying in hospital from what happened.

"She asked him whether they had noted the incident or not and he replied to her in the negative," he said, asserting that the incident had not been referred upwards at B&Q immediately but only some time after the accident took place.

"I sent them an email from hospital, and they asked for further details which I haven't provided yet because of my current situation," Mr Gaffar said, adding that he continued to "struggle with extreme pain" caused by the accident over a week since it happened.