LONDON -- A young British man died after his neck was crushed by an electronic footrest while he was searching under his luxury cinema seat for dropped keys and a cellphone, a coroner's inquest heard on Thursday.
Ateeq Rafiq, 24, became trapped in the footrest after watching a film from his "Gold Class" seat in the Vue multiplex cinema at the Star City leisure complex in the city of Birmingham in March last year, the BBC and other media reported.
Rafiq's wife, Ayesha Sardar, and cinema staff spent 15 minutes trying to free him after the raised footrest of his seat came down "very quickly," the broadcaster quoted Sardar as telling the first day of the inquest.
Rafiq died in hospital one week later from "catastrophic" brain injuries following a heart attack, coroner Emma Brown told jurors.
A government safety expert told the hearing that an electrical fuse had blown in the seat. The falling footrest would have pressed down on Rafiq with a force equivalent to some 750 kilograms, he was quoted as saying.
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