Sunday 20 October 2019

'Her parents were told to prepare for the worst but she's a fighter' - Irish woman 'lucky to be alive' after 30ft cliff fall

Orlagh Hanratty (25) fell 30ft while rock climbing in Dunedin, New Zealand
PIC: GoFundMe
Orlagh Hanratty (25) fell 30ft while rock climbing in Dunedin, New Zealand PIC: GoFundMe
Kathy Armstrong

Kathy Armstrong

A YOUNG Irish woman is lucky to be alive after falling 30 foot from a cliff in New Zealand, friends have said.

Orlagh Hanratty (25) from Bray, Co Wicklow, remains in intensive care after the rock climbing accident in Dunedin, last Thursday, February 7.

Keith Murray, who is a close friend of the Hanratty family, said that Orlagh had moved to New Zealand just a few months ago.

He said that she is a sporty person who has done rock climbing before and enjoys outdoor activities.

He said that he is shocked by the extent of her horrific injuries but says they could have been a lot worse.

Keith told Independent.ie: "She's so lucky to be alive - when her parents Tommy and Jenny were contacted they were told to prepare for the worst but she is an amazing fighter.

"She's still in intensive care but she has opened her eyes briefly and squeezed their hands, she is in and out of sleep.

"Orlagh has a small bleed on the brain, she has a broken cheek bone, broken jaw, broken thigh, it was very lucky that she had no spinal damage.

"She's out of danger, nobody knows her long-term prognosis but she is making progress every day, slowly she is improving."

Keith has set up a GoFundMe account to raise money for Orlagh's extensive rehabilitation costs, as well as to help support her parents while they are in New Zealand with her as she recovers.

He said they are blown away that they have received more than €15,500 in donations in just three days.

"Her family are very grateful for all of the good wishes, they're overwhelmed.

"They just want to be with their daughter and help her through this, they're staying positive," he said.

"I'm very surprised by how well the fundraiser is doing, it's humbling and just goes to show how popular Orlagh is.

"She is such a lovely person, she is funny and the life and soul of everyone that's around her.

"She is a genuine, bubbly and adventurous person, Orlagh has a heart of gold and would do anything for anyone who is around her.

"She is so full of life that Orlagh is the last person who you would expect anything like this to happen to."

Meanwhile, another young Irish person is recovering in a New Zealand hospital after a separate cliff fall.

Cormac O’Brennan (20) from Mullingar, Co Westmeath, fell more than 20 metres from rocks at Christchurch beach in New Zealand on January 3.

Cormac O1Brennan 1.jpg
Cormac OBrennan (20) from Mullingar, Co Westmeath, was recovering in hospital after he fell more than 20 metres from rocks at Christchurch beach in New Zealand on January 3, 2019.

His older sister Aisling told Independent.ie: "The hospital have said Cormac’s a miracle, they’ve never seen someone survive this type of fall and make such progress.

"Rehabilitation will be slow but we’re hoping for the best.

"The hospital scheduled an operation on his skull in a couple of weeks, so hopefully that’ll be the last difficult hurdle.

"The hospital called us after the accident and told us Cormac wasn’t going to make it. On the cliff they (rescuers) lost him three times - he stopped breathing.

"But luckily the first responder was an ex paramedic and an off-duty paramedic on the beach happened to have his equipment in his jeep, so they were able to resuscitate him three times.

"But the hospital said they didn’t think he was going to make it while mum and dad where trying to get their flights sorted. 

"They then said he may survive but won’t have any quality of life, so he’s defied all the odds so far."

  • For more information about the fundraiser for Orlagh or to donate please visit here

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