A pensioner crashed into a fire station after losing control of her car when a blood clot travelled to her lungs.

Sheila Hart, 87, was travelling back from a hair appointment in the centre of Horwich when her car suddenly veered into Horwich Community Fire Station.

An inquest at Bolton Coroner's Court heard that Miss Hart's black Hyundai had been travelling south east along Chorley New Road to her home in Cambridge Road, Lostock shortly after 2pm on Friday September 13, 2019.

John Moores, a local business owner, was driving in the opposite direction to Miss Hart at the time, and he told the court that her car crested the bridge before mounting the kerb of a pedestrian island.

The Hyundai i10 then hit a metal bollard outside the fire station before crashing into the building.

Mr Moores stopped on the forecourt of the station and tried to speak to Miss Hart before Catherine Haslam, a retired intensive care nurse, arrived on scene.

Ms Haslam had been walking her dog and was returning home when she heard the car's engine rev, drawing her attention to the scene as the accident occurred.

When she approached the vehicle, she noticed Miss Hart's head slumped on her chest, and believed that the woman may have suffered some kind of stroke.

She asked the older lady her name, and while Miss Hart attempted to respond, her words were incoherent.

Ms Haslam held her hand and tried to reassure her whilst firefighters held her head in place.

The group assisting her agreed that it would be best to get her out of the car, transferring her onto a board and taking her into the fire station to wait for the ambulance.

READ MORE: Pensioner's family thank those who helped her after tragic crash

When the paramedics arrived 45 minutes later, Miss Hart was taken to Salford Royal Hospital with several traumatic brain injuries, fractures to four vertebrae, five ribs, her sternum, and her left arm, and a blood clot on her lungs.

She was transferred to the intensive care unit and required medication to maintain her blood pressure.

Doctors believed that she was unlikely to survive these injuries with any reasonable quality of life.

Her brother-in-law, Joseph Staton, was contacted as her next of kin and agreed to withdraw life support and that end of life care would be in her best interests.

Mr Staton received a call in the early hours of Monday September 16 to say that his sister-in-law had passed away.

Dr Papworth, a pathologist, completed Miss Hart's post-mortem examination and determined that the blood clots that had travelled to her lungs pre-dated her injuries "by some time".

The court heard that she had been driving normally prior to the accident, when something happened which caused her to lose control.

Dr Papworth said that he believed the clot had lodged within her lungs while Miss Hart was making the one-and-a-half mile trip back to her house, causing her to experience chest pain, shortness of breath, and may have even caused her to blackout.

He also said that on the balance of probability, she would have been unlikely to survive the clot, known as a pulmonary embolism, even without the serious injuries she sustained in the crash.

Her cause of death was recorded as blunt force head and chest trauma and a pulmonary embolism in her lower right lung.

Coroner Simon Nelson concluded that Miss Hart died as a result of a "road traffic collision precipitated by an unsurvivable natural cause".

He addressed the court and said: "Here we have two contributory factors in the untimely death of the late Miss Hart, the traumatic and unsurvivable injuries and the event that precipitated the vehicle taking that course which I believe was an unsurvivable natural event.

"I express to you my deepest sympathies which I extend to you, her niece and brother-in-law, and to all those affected by her death.

"She comes across as a fiercely independent and stoic lady who maintained her dignity until the end and I do hope you will treasure your fond memories of her.