Belfast Telegraph

Mum tells of horrifying moment daughter (11) almost bled to death after freak bike accident

By Deborah McAleese

The mother of a young child who was seriously injured after a freak bicycle accident has told of the terrifying moments when her daughter almost bled to death.

Little Elana Casement had to be airlifted to hospital by PSNI helicopter from Castlewellan Forest Park after the handlebar of the bicycle she was riding went through the top of her left leg and damaged the femoral artery.

The 11-year-old, from Annacloy in Co Down, lost half of her blood supply in the accident on Saturday afternoon.

"We have been told that had Elana not received such prompt treatment she would have died.

"It was that serious. I don't like to think about what could have happened, but sometimes it is hard not to," the young girl's mother Colette Casement said.

Elana was with friends at the Castlewellan Show and was cycling across a field when she fell off her bicycle.

The rubber tip of the handlebar had come off and the metal went straight through her leg.

Two neighbourhood police officers who were at the scene administered first aid until paramedics arrived. Realising the seriousness of Elana's injuries they then called for assistance from the PSNI air support unit.

"I was in Newcastle waiting to go and collect Elana when I got a phone call to say there had been an accident. The phone call was unreal," said Colette.

"The PSNI officer told me Elana had been injured. He did not give me the full extent of her injuries because he knew it would be too much for me to take in.

"He told me I should make my way to the Royal Victoria Hospital. But I was in Newcastle so I drove straight to Castlewellan Forest Park and when I heard she had been airlifted to hospital the seriousness of it just hit me," the mother-of-three added.

"It was a horrendous drive to the hospital. When I arrived there with Elana's dad, a doctor came and told us that her injury was serious and that she was in theatre.

"To see her lying in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) under sedation with tubes and machines all around her was heartbreaking," Colette recalled. Elana has been responding well to treatment and has since been transferred from ICU into a main ward in the children's hospital.

"She has been extremely brave. A nurse told me she had never met as brave a girl in her whole life. I am so proud of Elana. She is magnificent," Colette said.

She added that she was indebted to the police officers, paramedics and members of the public who helped save her daughter's life. "I can't thank those people enough. Thanks to them there has been a happy outcome. There is a bit of a way ahead for her in terms of recovery but she is doing very well. She is so very lucky," said Colette. PSNI Inspector Mark Peters, from Newcastle Neighbourhood Team, said the actions of the officers involved had helped to save the young girl.

"When the officers realised how seriously injured the young girl was, they took immediate action to do everything possible to help her.

"We have since been contacted by others who were involved in the incident and we have been told that without the help of those officers, the young girl may not have survived.

"This could have ended in tragedy and I am just glad the officers were able to do their bit to help save this young girl's life. We would all like to wish her a speedy recovery."

Heather Hamill, director of Pro Paramedics whose team helped Elana after her accident, said: "There was excellent team work from Pro Paramedics, PSNI and Northern Ireland Ambulance Service. I'm very proud of the team and am delighted we were able to help Elana."

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