Girl (11) almost died afterbeing impaled on her bike
AN 11-year-old girl nearly bled to death after being impaled on bicycle handlebars, her mother has revealed.
Alanna Casement lost more than half her body's blood as a result of the "freak accident" that occurred at Castlewellan Forest Park in the North at the weekend.
The girl had to be airlifted to hospital as blood spurted "like a fountain" from her thigh.
Alanna's mother Colette paid tribute to the girl's friends who saved her life by acting quickly, as well as paramedics.
She said they managed to stem the blood flow until help arrived.
"A paramedic was there pretty quickly who wasn't even working at time," Ms Casement said.
"The paramedics and the police were amazing but they said she had to be airlifted and she was at the [Royal Victoria Hospital] in seven minutes."
"There's just so much to take in, but it seems that the fact it happened close to the caravans where our friends were looking after her that they were able to stem the blood flow," Ms Casement said.
"It's not clear if she would have made it if she had to go in an ambulance, which would have been more than half an hour."
Alanna, from Annacloy near Ballynahinch, Co Down, came off the bike last Saturday and a major vein was severed when the whole handlebar went into her thigh.
"Apparently if she'd been away off around the lake things could have been very, very different," Ms Casement explained.
"It sounds incredible but the doctors have said she lost around half or more of the blood in her body.
"She's a very lucky girl."
Police, the Air Support Unit and Northern Ireland Ambulance Service were all involved in the operation to save her.
"Realising the seriousness of the girl's injury, the officers then asked for the Air Support Unit to be tasked immediately," a Police Service of Northern Ireland spokesperson said.
Alanna is recovering in the Royal Victoria Hospital where she is in a serious but stable condition.
Newcastle Neighbourhood Team Inspector Mark Peters said of the incident: "I am just glad the officers, both the local neighbourhood and response officers and the crew from the PSNI helicopter, were able to do their bit to help save this young girl's life."