Friday 27 April 2018

Woman pulled from overturned car hails heroes who stopped to help

Debbie Armstong escaped with cuts and bruises after her car went into a spin and flipped upside down when she hit black ice in the Craigantlet hills
Debbie Armstong escaped with cuts and bruises after her car went into a spin and flipped upside down when she hit black ice in the Craigantlet hills

Jonathan Bell

A woman who was lucky to survive a horrific car crash hopes to thank in person the strangers who came to her aid as she sat dazed and upside down in her car.

Debbie Armstrong came off the road after hitting black ice as she travelled to work through the Craigantlet hills, Northern Ireland last week.

“The car did a complete 360 before hitting the verge and flipping over and landing on its roof down the bank of the road,” said the 50-year-old mum-of-three.

Ms Armstrong blacked out and when she came to was dazed and confused and hanging upside down.

“I didn’t know where I was or what I was doing,” she explained.

“I didn’t even realise I was upside down with only the seatbelt holding me in place.

“It was only when blood started running up my face I realised I was upside down.

“Thinking back on it now, I did some stupid things, like turning the radio volume down.

“I just wasn’t sure what to do, but I was worried someone might not have seen me as the car was down the bank and may have been out of sight, and I couldn’t move.”

She  began shouting for help and eventually managed to reach her bag to get her phone and ring the police, but she was so confused that she was unable to say where she was.

“Then I heard someone call out — Jake Lendrum — who was on his way to hospital with a cut lip. Such were his injuries, the police thought he was involved in the accident,” she said.

“But he actually lay down and reached in to hold my hand.”

Jake was joined by Lyndsey Elser, medical student Conor McAvoy, and Nathan Scott, who all helped to comfort her while the emergency services worked to free her.

A police officer even climbed into the car with her as the roof was cut away.

Amazingly, she only sustained minor cuts and bruises.

She has been left with a fear of driving, although she is determined to get back behind the wheel in 2018.

“I have to credit Honda, the design of the seat no doubt prevented worse injuries,” she added.

“It actually held my head in place and stopped it getting crushed. The police said I was very lucky.”

Debbie has spoken to some of those who helped in her rescue and hopes to meet them to personally thank them.

She said: “I genuinely cannot thank them enough. It was obviously very traumatic, but to have them there and to think they took the effort to stop and help out — they showed an incredible amount of decency. Most people you’d assume wouldn’t stop.

“It has also made me think twice now about ever passing a car that is lying crashed on the side of the road. If there is no one around it or police tape, there could be someone like me inside in need of help.”

Belfast Telegraph

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