Peak achievement for man who was rescued by Coastguard helicopter and Mountain Rescue Team
We all have dreams and ambitions. Niall’s was to walk to the top of Pen-Y-Fan in the Brecon Beacons in Wales. It would have been an achievement at any price, but this was even more remarkable given that just a few weeks earlier he suffered a terrible, life-changing accident on a cliff face in the same location.
Back in early May, Niall had been paragliding in the Brecon Beacons when something went horribly wrong and he crashed into the cliff face, feet first at about 40mph.
|Picture supplied, courtesy of Niall|
The Coastguard Search and Rescue helicopter from St Athan was sent and quickly arrived. That day the crew was Captain Nick Pollard, co-pilot Paul Farmer, Winch operator Keith Fentiman and Winchman Graham Hatch.
Niall was seriously injured and complaining of severe lower back pain. His injuries and his precarious position on the mountain side meant that the Brecon Mountain Rescue Team (MRT) was also sent as part of the rescue.
An MRT doctor and team member were winched down to Niall. They administered first aid and secured him in a stretcher before he was winched up into the rescue helicopter. From there, Niall was flown to the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff where he immediately underwent major surgeries to secure his spinal column with rods and screws. Niall had further specialist spinal surgery two weeks later and now has a titanium cage around his spinal column.
Following a total of 38 days in hospital and several weeks of intense physiotherapy and incredible dedication, Niall’s fantastic achievement in walking up the mountain and returning to the site of his accident only 15 weeks later is an inspiration to us all.
The co-pilot and winchman from the day of the accident have met Niall and his family to congratulate him on his amazing recovery and incredible achievement. An emotional Niall took the opportunity to thank the helicopter crew and the MRT members who had been so vital to his rescue. Once fully fit, Niall intends to join the Brecon MRT.