Belfast Telegraph

Co Down girl impaled on bike's handlebar tells of life or death hospital dash

By Amanda Ferguson

The Co Down schoolgirl who nearly bled to death after being impaled on a bicycle handlebar has spoken for the first time about the ordeal.

Alanna Casement from Annacloy lost more than half the blood in her body following a freak accident at Castlewellan Forest Park last weekend.

The 11-year-old had been riding a friend's bicycle when it skidded and one of the handlebars, which did not have a protective rubber cover on it, plunged into her upper leg seriously damaging her femoral artery.

Blood spurted "like a fountain" from her thigh.

Speaking to UTV, Alanna explained what she could recall from the time.

"I remember trying to pull it out but it wouldn't come out, so I yanked it out. And I remember the blood and I remember getting up and running with blood streaming down my leg.

"I must have fainted or something – I felt nothing," she said.

"I remember Paulette's dad was holding my leg – the blood had stopped. I remember wakening up and everyone was around me."

Police and paramedics on standby at an agricultural show in the Co Down park arrived on the scene promptly and the little girl was quickly airlifted to Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital for treatment.

Alanna was unaware of how seriously injured she was and how close to death she came.

She did not feel scared until she got to the Royal and saw the medical staff scrubbing up in the theatre.

"I just kept screaming 'get me to sleep!' because the pain was really sore then," she added.

She was in the operating theatre for five hours and a team of 35 doctors and nurses were on duty to attend to her.

Following the emergency surgery Alanna was glad to see her parents and seek comfort from them.

"I was really happy to see mummy and daddy's face," she said.

Alanna is unable to walk following the accident, but it is determined to play netball and Gaelic football again.

She is hopeful of leaving hospital next week and will be undergoing intensive physiotherapy to get her back on her feet and fighting fit.

Her mother Colette urged other parents to check that the handlebars on bikes were properly covered.

"As far as handlebars are concerned make sure there is rubber on the end because had there been, there may not have been as much damage to Alanna's leg," she said.

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