Cyclist who broke her back in 15ft fall onto rocks praises rescuers

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A woman who was rescued after falling 15 feet onto rocks in Co Down has praised those who came to her aid as incredible.

Adrianne Peltz, 33, was cycling along the North Down coastal path on Saturday afternoon when she fell onto rocks, leaving her with a fractured spine.

The Coastguard, paramedics and members of the RNLI stabilised her and carried her off the rocks to a rescue and brought her by boat to a nearby yacht club where an ambulance was waiting.

Ms Peltz had been pushing her bike on the section of the path close to the Royal Belfast Golf Club when she fell.

“I was planning to get the train to Belfast from Holywood to meet my partner in Belfast at 2.30pm.

“I had got to the point on the path where it becomes narrower and is gravel so I was pushing my bike because I tend to be quite cautious.

“There was a big rock on the path, I pushed my front wheel around it to what I thought was solid ground, it was a grassy patch but not solid. My front wheel dropped and pulled me down with it, I hit my head on a rock and then fell, landing on my back.

“I tried to grab on to bits of foliage but the weight of the bike was too heavy.”

Ms Peltz said her first instinct was to try and stand up, but two women who had been walking behind her persuaded her to remain lying down, which she said saved her from making her injuries worse.

“They scrambled down to help me,” she said. “They told me not to move and one women held my head between her hands the whole time while we waited for the ambulance.

“They spoke to me throughout and made me keep my eyes open as I was drifting in and out of consciousness at that point.

“They were angels.”

Due to the terrain, the ambulance staff were not able to reach Ms Peltz, and the RNLI had to take her by boat to the nearby Royal North of Ireland Yacht club.

“They were exceptional, I can’t emphasise that enough,” she said. “Because it was low tide they couldn’t land the boat and had to wade through the water to reach me.

“Obviously they have years of training and experience and that’s what they do, but when you are in a situation where you feel like you have lost all control over it, it is so comforting how they come in and take control of it. I felt so safe.”

Ms Peltz said she was terrified about her injuries, because at one stage she couldn’t feel her one of her legs.

“The RNLI stopped me from panicking, they were just amazing, and all the paramedics, nurses and doctors, I can’t express just how much gratitude I feel to them all,” she said.

Ms Peltz suffered a fractured spine and must rest for up to eight weeks.

She is originally from South Africa, but has lived in Northern Ireland for a number of years, and served as president of the National Union of Students – Union of Students in Ireland.

She now lives in Bangor and works for Victim Support NI and says she is looking forward to meeting her rescuers from the RNLI to thank them in person.

“They were all exceptional.”

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