Belfast Telegraph

North West 200 horror crash woman says it's a miracle she is alive

Woman hit by bike at NW200 vows to return to the race next year

By Cate McCurry

MIRACLE mum Violet McAfee, who was left clinging to life after a horror crash at the North West 200, last night told Sunday Life: "I'll be back next year."

The Ballybogey woman was left clinging for life after being hit by a bike in the high-speed freak accident last Saturday.

The 44-year-old did not know the full extent of the crash until we showed her last week’s Sunday Life, with the dramatic image of the aftermath.

 Violet, a bike racing fanatic, was watching the race from her friend’s front garden at Station Road in Portstewart when she was struck in the three-bike accident.

She was airlifted and taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital where she spent three days in intensive care.

Describing it as a “freak accident”, the mother of one, whose left leg is strapped in a cage, admits she is lucky to be alive.

She said: “It’s a miracle, people didn’t expect me to survive.

“I have to say there is a huge power of prayer and only for that reason I am still here. There’s been a lot of people from across the world who have sent their prayers.”

She told Sunday Life that her last memory of the event was waiting for the riders to pass on their warm-up lap for the last race. 

Despite her horrific injuries, she remains upbeat and is looking forward to returning home this Wednesday.

She added: “The motorbike hit the car and then it came down and landed on top of me and it has really taken a chunk out of my leg.

“The bone came out of my skin and thankfully when I got the the helicopter they put it back into place as much as they could.

“The cage is so rigid that I can’t move my leg, so it will hold it all together and I’ll be like this for up to two months.

“I have a hairline fracture to my head but there’s nothing they can do with it as it will heal on its own.

“I’m trying to walk on my leg so I’m using a zimmer frame and doing rehab as well.”

But a long road to recovery lies ahead for the battered and bruised Violet, who has no memory of the crash.

She only saw the picture of the scene of the crash when we showed her last week’s paper. 

She said: “When I woke up I knew I was hospital but didn’t know why. I knew absolutely nothing about the accident and I still don’t.

“Until I saw the picture of the scene in the Sunday Life I didn’t realise how bad it looked.

“I was told that after the crash my eyes were turning in my head, no one expected me to be sitting up laughing and joking.

“I wasn’t expecting it either.”

Rider Stephen Thompson from Crumlin, who was also seriously injured in the crash, wished Ms McAfee a speedy recovery.

Event organiser Mervyn Whyte has visited the pair in hospital, where they had fought for their lives.

The civil servant, who lives with her boyfriend Gary and her 19-year-old son James, said her family were left traumatised by the crash.

“My son took the news quite badly. He didn’t want to hear that I died.

“He was traumatised for a while and couldn’t function.

“I think it was a freak accident and shouldn’t have happened and I was there at the wrong time, it was unfortunate.

“It happened so quickly that I couldn’t have reacted any differently.

“They say it’s not supposed to happen to spectators, so it’s just one of those things.

“I have loved motor bikeracing my whole life and I will be back again next year, but not the same place. My thanks go to everyone who helped and prayed, the hospital staff and the helicopter paramedics.”

Her mum, Kathleen McAfee, said: “It was complete panic and I broke down and was in bits.

“But God was on our side so I knew she would be fine.”

Belfast Telegraph


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