“You never think something like that is going to happen, especially when you’re on holiday”
The Pond family, from Reading, were on their annual holiday in Cornwall when a day out at a children’s play area took a turn for the worst.
They had been staying in Port Isaac and visited a local strawberry farm, for something to eat and so the three kids could use the play equipment.
10-year-old Amy was using the zip wire, as she did every time they visited. But as it reached the end of the line at some speed, she was catapulted around 15 feet into the air. Amy crashed down, landing on her front. The force of the fall made her legs come back up, in the wrong direction, and her feet almost touched the back of her head.
Her parents rushed over and Amy was very quiet, only saying that she couldn’t feel her legs.
A local woman came to help and called 999. A paramedic arrived in a car and Cornwall Air Ambulance was tasked, arriving at the scene in around 10 minutes. Amy was airlifted to the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro within a matter of minutes.
Mum Shelley said: “You never think something like that is going to happen, especially when you’re on holiday, you just don’t expect to have to need the emergency services, ever. We were very grateful they were there and came so quickly, it was quite shocking at the time. They gave her a teddy on board which was really sweet. You’re so grateful that they’re there. I can’t speak highly enough of them.”
In hospital Amy had x-rays and it was found she had bruising and spinal shock, but luckily she had not suffered any permanent spinal damage. She made a full recovery but didn’t go near another zip wire for six years.
Amy at the time of her accident
Amy, now 20, said: “I can still remember it, I never thought something like that would happen to me, I’m so grateful Cornwall Air Ambulance were there to help me, it could have been a very different story if they weren’t.
“When you have a big traumatic experience, you don’t really understand what is going on, but I do remember it. After I fell off it was a bit more of a blur, I went on the zip wire every time we went to Cornwall so didn’t think anything of it. It was going very fast, and I remember just trying to hold on, when I came off, I felt my heels hit the back of my head, I remember my family stood there and then running over. Within 10 or 15 minutes there were paramedics, the air ambulance, and people giving me gas and air. I was in the hospital for quite a long time.
“We go down to Cornwall at least once a year, and have been for about 20 years, we’ve seen the air ambulance being used on multiple occasions, not just my own. It’s very comforting to see they are helping people.
“I think people should support Cornwall Air Ambulance regardless of if you live in Cornwall or not, if you went on holiday there and needed the services, then that costs a lot of money, they rely on people’s donations and you never know when you’re going to need it, and you might need it one day.”
Amy and her family now
Mum Shelley added: “I don’t think people realise how difficult it is sometimes to get from one area of Cornwall to another, the road infrastructure is sometimes very narrow lanes, the roads are not as fast as the dual carriageways we have locally, it is difficult sometimes getting to these areas. It took us almost an hour in the car to get to the hospital, whereas it took the air ambulance minutes.
“It is so important in rural places like Cornwall, we’ve seen it land three times on the beach while we’ve been on holiday there too. We never thought we would have to use the air ambulance, but we are so grateful it was there.
“I don’t think people realise it’s a charity, which relies on people like ourselves to keep it going. It’s very reassuring to know services like Cornwall Air Ambulance are available if you ever need it, and it needs supporting.”
You can support Cornwall Air Ambulance here, so we can help more visitors like Amy: