Woman who fell off Striding Edge thanks GNAAS for coming to her aid

A WOMAN fell 30ft when she collapsed while walking on one of the UK’s most dangerous mountain routes.

Elizabeth May, 51, was walking with her husband and two friends on Striding Edge, Helvellyn, on May 7, when she briefly lost consciousness and fell head first down the mountainside. Fortunately, she came to rest just 30ft below, but had nevertheless sustained significant injuries.

Recalling the incident, Mrs May, of the West Midlands, said: “My first memory is of being aware I was going through the air with my eyes closed, and then grinding to a halt on my front on the ground.

“My husband saw me mid-flight and thought I was going all the way down to Red Tarn, several hundred feet below, which would have been a very different story, so he was extremely relieved when I hit the path and came to a stop.”

Mrs May sustained multiple injuries including liver laceration, two broken ribs, facial cuts, broken teeth and a damaged wrist.

Now recovered, Mrs May has thanked the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) which came to her aid alongside the Patterdale Mountain Rescue and HM Coastguard search and rescue team.

Terry Sharpe, GNAAS aircrew paramedic, was part of a team of three medics from the air ambulance present.

He said: “We made our way to Mrs May, who had sustained head, face and chest injuries. We treated her and on examination found she had an abdominal injury which proved to be serious.

“We were on a ledge so we tried to make her as comfortable as possible, and called in the Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team and a search and rescue helicopter to assist us in getting her off Striding Edge.”

Mrs May was winched from the scene and taken down to Patterdale Mountain Rescue base, where she was transferred to the GNAAS helicopter and flown to the major trauma unit at Royal Preston Hospital.

She said: “I knew I had a smashed up face, and thought I had broken ribs, but had no idea about my liver injury.

“The people who attended me were all absolutely superb, the way the GNAAS team communicated with me and handled things could not have been better. They were all really amazing, I cannot stress this enough.”

Apart from some ongoing dental work and sore ribs, Mrs May has managed to recover from the incident and has even started going back to the gym to try and build her fitness back up.

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