Mum saves daughter's life after she breaks her neck in horrific waterslide accident - by cracking her tooth
Published 09/05/2016 | 13:02
A quick-thinking mother saved her daughter's life after she broke her neck in a horrific waterslide accident by cracking her tooth to allow her to breathe.
Adele Olcer, 41, jumped into action after little Zara, aged five, fell backwards out of a double rubber ring on a high-speed slide in Turkey, banged her head and was knocked unconscious.
Mum-of-two Adele was then forced to watch her daughter lifelessly slump down the rest of the flume to the shallows below.
But mother's instinct kicked in and Adele grabbed Zara and managed to get her in the recovery position. Finding her jaw was locked, she cleared her airways by cracking her tooth before the youngster was rushed to hospital.
Doctors said Zara could have been paralyzed - but she spent three weeks in hospital before returning back to the UK to make a full recovery.
Adele, of Rotherham, South Yorks., said: "My initial reaction was she was dead - I turned her over when I got to the bottom and her eyes were open.
"I thought that was it. She wasn't breathing and her jaw was locked."
As the tunnel slide opened out, Adele, who was sat in the front ring, and Zara, who at this point had fallen out the ring, collided and the little girl came to a stop, face-down and lifeless.
As Zara's panicked dad and sister had been waiting next in line and frantically made their way down the steps towards them.
Cash and Carry manager Adele sprang into action and pushed one of Zara's teeth in to help open her mouth, move her tongue and clear her throat.
Describing the horrific ordeal, Adele said: "I could see what had happened and was screaming, I tipped myself out of the ring to try and get to her but the water was so powerful I couldn't do anything so I had to wait until we came to a stop."
"Then I heard her breath and so I put her in the recovery position until the ambulance arrived," she recalled.
"I had done an advanced first aid course a week before we went on holiday with work, which is what I think made me stay calm."
Zara broke bones in her neck and skull, broke her arm in two places and was left with double vision after the accident at the picturesque Nirvana Lagoon in Kemer.
Adele, of Rotherham, South Yorks., said: "It was horrendous, I can't begin to tell you what was going through my mind.
"On top of it all when she got to hospital the doctors did very little until we could prove we had insurance.
"Of course, you never keep those documents on you, so it took us about half-an-hour of going through emails to prove we had insurance."
Medics later told the family, including dad Firat, 39, and Zara's older sister Isabel, aged nine, that things could have been much worse - if the break had been a quarter-of-an inch nearer to her spine, she would have been paralysed from the neck down.
Zara was kept in hospital abroad for three weeks, while Adele's father Frank, 74, who was holidaying with the family flew home with Isabel.
Firat's colleagues at Asda in Handsworth raised £2,300 to cover the cost of keeping both parents by her side.
Zara was then looked after by Sheffield Children's Hospital as an outpatient following her return home.
Speaking about her daughter's injuries, Adele said: "Her broken arm wasn't even picked up until we got home - we did keep saying that it didn't look right."
Zara had to wear a neck collar for four months and could not return to school full-time until September 2015.
She was given the all clear in December and Adele said her daughter was now back to her normal self.
Adele said: "We know how lucky we are - so many children have similar accidents and are not as lucky as Zara."
Adding: "This year we've booked to go away, but we've been very careful not choose one near a waterpark or a pool with a slide."
Zara has marked her recovery with a fundraiser to raise money for people who have not been as lucky.
The family have collectively raised £1,600 for Sheffield Children's Hospital's spinal cord injury centre to date - which helped to care for her when she returned to the UK.
Zara also completed a sponsored 2.2-mile bike ride around Rother Valley Country Park, which Firat ran with her, while sister Isabel swam a mile in 49 minutes at Rotherham Leisure Centre.
Proud Adele said: "They were both so excited for their challenges, and watched each other along with a couple of friends and family."