Sister of Tyrone fatal crash woman pays tribute to medics from air ambulance
A Co Tyrone woman who lost her younger sister in a road crash last month has praised the medical staff from the air ambulance.
Kyra McKinley from Omagh died following a two-vehicle collision on Deverney Road in the town shortly before 10am on Saturday, August 18.
The 21-year-old had been driving between the homes of her parents on Ballynahatty Road and her boyfriend Matthew's, which are only five minutes apart, when tragedy struck.
Kyra was seriously injured and flown by air ambulance from the scene to the Royal Victoria Hospital where she underwent emergency surgery.
She died as a result of her injuries in the intensive care unit three days later, surrounded by her family.
Following her untimely death, the McKinley family requested that people donate to the rescue team from Air Ambulance NI (AANI), who ensured they spent cherished final moments with Kyra.
Almost a month on, her older sister Alex (24) and younger brother Glenn (18) have continued fundraising, most recently at a dance in the Silverbirch Hotel in Omagh where all three siblings at one time worked.
Alex said the air ambulance gave her family precious extra time with Kyra and also allowed her organs to be donated for the benefit of others in need.
She said: "The air ambulance crew arrived on scene within 30 minutes of the crash and the medics worked on Kyra for an hour before she was transferred to Belfast.
"There was a consultant and paramedics on board so Kyra was given hospital treatment at the crash scene. We believe that Kyra died at the scene, but the medics were able to resuscitate her and keep her alive so that we got to spend three extra days with her to say our goodbyes. That also meant that her organs remained functioning and could be donated to give the gift of life to others."
So far Alex and Glenn have raised over £1,000 but are aiming for £5,500 to cover the daily cost of the vital service which takes £2m a year to run.
Alex said the family are dealing with their huge loss on a day-by-day basis but are planning a number of events over the coming months to keep her memory alive.
"We are all doing alright but we have our moments.
"The grief hits you at different times but this fundraising has given us a purpose and something to focus on.
"We just want to see some good come out of an awful situation. We are distributing collection boxes around local shops and also planning a couple of further events over the coming months.
"You just don't know when the air ambulance will be needed to save your life or that of a loved one. "
Alex added: "These guys need as much support as they can get. We couldn't be more thankful for all that they did for us and will always be grateful to them for those precious extra days with Kyra."
From its two bases in Enniskillen and Lisburn, the air ambulance can reach any part of Northern Ireland in approximately 25 minutes.
Its primary role is to deliver advanced critical care, benefiting those whose lives are at serious risk following significant injury or trauma.
Since July 2017, the air ambulance has been tasked to more than 450 emergencies across Northern Ireland.