A CYCLIST who was seriously injured in an accident at Whinlatter Pass has thanked the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) which flew her to hospital.
Nerys Whiley, 37, was taking part in a 140-mile coast to coast, from Whitehaven to Tyneside, when the incident happened on July 15, 2016.
Miss Whiley, who was riding with twelve other charity bikers, said: “We had done about 25 miles and stopped for lunch at the Whinlatter Forest Visitor Centre.
“I think we rode for about 20 minutes or so after that but my last memory is being at the centre.
“My back tyre popped and I lost control. I tumbled 20 feet down into a river. Luckily it wasn’t deep. I landed on my back with my head was above the water,” she said.
Miss Whiley had suffered multiple serious injuries including a broken collar bone, two broken ribs and two crushed vertebrae and she was put into a medically induced coma by the GNAAS team. She was then flown to the Royal Preston Hospital where she spent two weeks.
Before meeting the GNAAS crew at their Langwathby airbase, Miss Whiley and her mother, Lynda Whiley, visited the crash site to see if they could piece together events.
She said: “I didn’t have any flashbacks which I thought I might. From where I was found, we were able to work out where I came off the road and down the embankment. I’m guessing I hit a curb and was flung off the bike before falling into the river.”
Speaking of when she found out about the accident, Mrs Whiley, 62, said: “It was horrible. It’s your worst nightmare. But GNAAS are incredible. We are so grateful.”
Miss Whiley, from Woolhampton, Reading, said: “Without the help of the air ambulance things could have been a lot worse.
“One wrong move and it could have been fatal. They said if I had broken my back a fraction higher then I could have been paralysed.
“GNAAS are total life-savers.
“I could easily not be here. I think without a helmet, I wouldn’t be.
“I’m a glass half-full kind of person. I have a positive outlook but it has been tough. It’s frustrating when I can’t do all the things that I want to do.”
Miss Whiley who hopes to get back on her bike this summer, said: “I am forever grateful and when I’m fully recovered, I hope to do some charity runs and raise plenty of money to say thank you again.”
She added: “It has been an honour to come to the airbase. I feel like it’s the closing chapter.”