A patient and radiographer narrowly escaped injury in a horror accident at Southampton General Hospital, the Daily Echo can reveal.

The terrified patient was just metres from being crushed as they came to the end of a routine MRI scan when a wheelchair was picked up and flung across the room by the machine’s powerful magnets.

It was only sheer luck that the patient and the radiographer, who was also inside the room, were not struck by the chair as it smashed into the scanner, causing £20,000 damage.

The incident put the hospital’s MRI scanner out of action for two days.

Hospital bosses have blamed “human error” for the incident and have launched an investigation to ensure that the same mistake doesn’t happen again.

The Daily Echo understands that the frightening ordeal happened when a nurse coming to collect the patient to take them back to the ward walked into the scanning room with the metal wheelchair, despite signs outside warning them not to enter the room.

A hospital insider claims the wheelchair was instantly thrown across the room, crashing into the side of the scanner and bending around into the tube where the patient was lying moments before.

The hospital insider added: “This could have easily ended with a double fatality because the force of those powerful magnets are so strong that they wouldn’t have had a chance to get out of the way.

“I just cannot understand how this was allowed to happen because everybody working in the hospital is aware of the strength of the machine and there are so many signs warning people not to enter while a scan is taking place.

“The nurse was shouted at to get out but they still continued into the room and the wheelchair just shot across the room, slammed into the scanner and was bent round into the part where the patient lies.

“It’s a miracle nobody was hurt or killed and something needs to be done to ensure all auxiliary nurses are aware of the dangers so this doesn’t happen again.”

University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Southampton General Hospital, confirmed that the incident caused £20,000 damage to the machine and put it out of action for two days.

A spokesman added: “This incident was a result of human error by a member of our staff and, although no patients or staff were injured or affected, it is something we are taking very seriously and will continue to investigate to ensure all staff adhere to the stringent safety measures we have in place across the trust.”