Belfast Telegraph

Family of Tyrone teen Ethan Sibley saved by air ambulance raise funds for charity

Ethan Sibley (centre) with pilot Rich Steele and Dr Derek Hrabovsky
Ethan Sibley (centre) with pilot Rich Steele and Dr Derek Hrabovsky
Mark Bain

By Mark Bain

The family of a Co Tyrone teenager who suffered life threatening injuries in an horrific car crash earlier this year are repaying the support provided by Air Ambulance NI with a fundraising campaign.

On May 31, 18-year-old dairy farmer Ethan Sibley was driving in his home town of Stewartstown when he was involved in a serious two-car collision.

Ethan was just a few miles from his home when the accident happened and, due to the severity of his injuries, the air ambulance was tasked to the scene.

Ethan was in critical condition when the Air Ambulance NI medical team, Dr Derek Hrabovsky and paramedic Mike Patton, arrived.

With a bleed on the brain, a collapsed lung, a lacerated liver, vertebrae injuries and multiple broken bones including a broken pelvis, heel and jaw, the medical team carried out critical care interventions and put Ethan into an induced coma at the scene.

He was then transferred to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.

Ethan's sister, Kira Sibley, said her family feared he would lose his life, but thanks to the vital initial actions of the air ambulance crew, he is now making a good recovery.

"We honestly can't thank Air Ambulance enough for what they did for Ethan," she said.

"We didn't know anything about them until they arrived. We can honestly say that without their help, Ethan would not be alive today.

"It still feels like it happened yesterday and we as a family still feel raw about the whole thing, but we're happy to share our story if it means bringing attention to this vital service."

Ethan spent five weeks in the hospital. During his first week, he was in critical condition, in a coma, and was kept in intensive care. He was then transferred to a high dependency unit for a further five days, before spending his final three weeks in a private room.

"While he is still in the process of rehabilitation for the significant brain injury sustained through the accident, Ethan has made a remarkable recovery and is now keen to get back on the road and continue with his farming duties," his sister added.

Since Ethan's accident, his family has focused on raising money for Air Ambulance NI. Kira and her mother Sharon took part in a tandem skydive in August and so far have raised more than £1,600 for the charity.

Kerry Anderson, head of fundraising for Air Ambulance NI, said she was delighted to hear Ethan is making a good recovery.

"As a charity we depend on public donations to ensure we can continue to provide the service across Northern Ireland," she said.

"It takes £5,500 a day to keep our organisation running, so the Sibley family's fundraising efforts are very much appreciated by our team.

"We're so happy to hear that Ethan is making great strides in his recovery and wish him all the best in the future."

Air Ambulance NI is the local charity that provides the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) for Northern Ireland, together with partners at the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service. The service operates seven days a week for 12 hours per day and since its first mission in July 2017 the air ambulance has been tasked over 1,100 times across the region.

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