Monday 10 December 2018

'I saw a flashing light coming right at me' - Woman's ordeal as Storm Eleanor brings live power cable down onto her car

Lorraine McBride with her car in Newtownabbey on January 3 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Lorraine McBride with her car in Newtownabbey on January 3 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)

Victoria Leonard

A Co Antrim woman says she is lucky to be alive after a live power cable hit her car as Storm Eleanor reached its peak on Tuesday night.

Pictures of the aftermath of the incident show extensive damage to Newtownabbey resident Lorraine McBride's car, and live electricity sparking out of the downed cable lying beside her Citroen Picasso.

Lorraine's near miss, which smashed the front windscreen, occurred in Carrickfergus as the Slimming World consultant was heading home from work.

"The weather was really bad on Tuesday evening, and the people who were coming to my Slimming World classes in Carrick actually remarked that the wind seemed to be worse than during Storm Ophelia in October," the shocked mum-of-three said.

"I was driving up the North Road beside Carrick Grammar School when I saw what I thought were blue lights.

"I thought people were setting off fireworks, and that they were being very irresponsible with the gale force winds.

"Then suddenly, I saw a flashing light coming right at me, and the front windscreen smashed. I slammed on the brakes to do an emergency stop and jumped out of the car. My husband Alastair had been driving behind me, and I told him a firework had hit my car - then another woman who had witnessed it told me I had been hit by a live electricity cable. She said she couldn't believe that I had survived.

"It was quite frightening - there was a tree lying on the road, so I think that it brought down the electric cable, and when I looked above me, I could see other flashing electricity cables ready to come down."

Lorraine was helped by passers by, and admits that she became "a bit emotional" as she realised the danger she had been in.

"I had decided to take our bigger car that night, and if the windscreen had shattered, I could have been electrocuted," she said. "When I got home, I was quite jittery - it started to sink in what a close call it was.

"The front windscreen is broken and the front of the car is scraped, but if I had been in our other car, it might have been a different story. I'm lucky that the windscreen held. I even dreamt about it in my sleep."

Despite being left shaken, Lorraine has already got behind the wheel again and has driven past the scene of her near miss.

"I was really nervous about driving again, but I forced myself to do it and drove past where the accident happened," she said.

"It was a horrible ordeal, but it could have been much worse."

Belfast Telegraph

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