Monday 23 October 2017

Miracle cliff fall boy back home and recovering

Mateo Arteaga
Mateo Arteaga

a 12-year-old boy who was lucky to escape with his life after falling 50ft from cliffs is now back at home after surgery to his smashed leg and injured spine.

Mateo Arteaga broke both the bones in his lower-left leg in the fall onto the beach at Shankill on October 1.

He had to be airlifted from the beach by the Irish Coastguard helicopter and flown to Tallaght Hospital for emergency treatment.

Mateo was later transferred to Crumlin Children's Hospital where had a special frame fitted around his leg with steel rods going into his shattered bones to realign them.

He also needed surgery for a broken vertebra in the hard landing. It has had to be braced and stabilised with titanium screws. Now he is back home in Dorney Court in Shankill where his mother Sofia is nursing him back to health.

"Mateo spent five hours in surgery but he is home now," Sofia told the Herald.

"He has to wait until his leg wounds around the external pins heal before he can go out much, and he is still on painkillers, but otherwise his form is okay.

"He would like to have a few more visitors because he gets bored, but at least he is getting better.

"He will meet all his friends again when he goes back to school, but we don't know yet when that will be," she added.

The Bray School Project student is an avid skateboarder and cyclist, but will have to stay off his wheels for months until he is fully healed.

After the fall Mateo told the Herald it took around three seconds to fall from the top of the cliffs to the beach after he lost his footing.

"I thought I was going to be paralysed," said the brave lad, who had to call for help from a passing beach walker.

"Mateo was conscious when he landed on the beach, and thought he would be able to get up, but when he tried he was in agony," said Sofia.

Remembering the day when she got the call that Mateo had fallen, Sofia told of her fright.

"I got there quickly but Mateo was in a lot of pain. The paramedics were giving him morphine and it was having no real effect because his pain was so strong," she said.

FRIGHTENING

"It was frightening but I tried to stay calm for Mateo and keep my head strong.

"He had injured his head and face as well and was complaining of back pain, it was worrying.

"Even as we were on the beach there were kids looking down from the cliffs above. It can be a dangerous place and kids should be aware of the dangers," Sofia explained.

Mateo will now have some X-rays next week to monitor how well he is healing, but has been told to expect to have the frame on for more than eight weeks.

"I'm just thankful that he is alive," said Sofia.

cfeehan@herald.ie

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