Seven-year-old Finley escapes with only ‘superficial’ injuries following 15-foot fall

“I was terrified that Finley was unconscious because he wasn’t responding to any of our calls.”

A boy from Whitley Bay has escaped with only ‘superficial’ injuries following a 15-foot fall from a woodland path into the river below.

Seven-year-old, Finley Strachan, had been enjoying a day out in the sunshine with his family last month at Plankey Mill in Northumberland when he slipped down a bank into the water.

Finley’s mum, Aimie Strachan, said: “We had been at Allen Banks and Staward Gorge in Hexham for the day paddling in the water and enjoying the weather.

“We live in North Tyneside, so this was a day trip out for my husband John and I, Finley, and our four-year-old daughter, Matilda.”

The family of four were walking back to the car to get ice cream when the children started skipping ahead.

Aimie said: “We told the kids to stop and then it all happened so fast.

“Finley slipped down the bank into the water below. The ground was so dry due to the hot weather that it just gave way and crumbled when he stood on it.”

John and his wife ran to help Finley but couldn’t see him easily from the path and couldn’t work out which way down was the safest to reach him.

The mum-of-two said: “John had to double back to gain access to the water. I was terrified that Finley was unconscious because he wasn’t responding to any of our calls.”

Due to the location of the accident, phone signal was limited and although John called out for someone to ring 999, there was no reception.

Aimie said: “I ran to the next lot of people who were paddling in the water, and I was screaming for help.

“People managed to get to Finley and one man could see that he was shivering and gave him the t-shirt off his back to wear.

“It wasn’t long after this that the emergency services arrived, and the fire crew winched him up from the river and onto a stretcher.”

The Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) was tasked to the scene and landed nearby, then an all-terrain vehicle drove him from the scene to the helicopter where he was airlifted to the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) in Newcastle by the charity’s doctor, paramedic and pilot team.

Aimie said: “We didn’t know the extent of his injuries as he landed on rocks, but we could see a gash to his head and scrape on his bank. He had an ultrasound, a CT scan, and X-rays and spent the night in the RVI.”

Aimie added: “His wounds miraculously were all superficial and his head was able to be glued. The care he received from everyone involved was incredible.

“We are especially grateful to the GNAAS crew who got Finley to the hospital so quickly.”

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