Spanish biking holiday almost claimed my life

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A Coleraine man is recovering in Spain after a bike accident almost claimed his life.

Kieran Crawford and his Bann Wheelers pals - Chris McIntyre, Robert Kerr, Nigel Quigley, Sharman Crawford, Alistair Lockhart and Chris Philson, were enjoying a bike ride in the mountainous Alcoi area, near Benidorm, when he was involved in a collision with a jeep.

The impact of the collision was so severe that Kieran suffered three broken ribs, a broken shoulder blade and a cracked sternum. He also punctured his lung in several places.

After 11 days of hospital treatment, Kieran is still in a lot of pain but is recovering well and is hoping to return home this week.

Speaking to The Coleraine Times from his hotel room in Alicante, an emotional Kieran said that he was lucky to be alive.

“I have learned a lot from this. Spain will always have a different meaning to me now - it’s the place that saved my life.”

Recalling the accident, Kieran said: “This happened on the first day of our trip. We were doing this mountain run and had been out for about two hours. We all have different fitness levels so there were a few bikes in front of me, and a few behind.

“I hit the third corner on the way down and saw the jeep coming. I knew I was going to hit it and to be honest I can’t really remember much after that apart from hearing myself squealing with the pain.

“I lay on the roadside for about an hour-and-a-half before the ambulance arrived. Nigel Quigley was behind me, and the other boys turned and came back and waited until the ambulance came.

“I was then taken to a little mountain hospital called Alcoi. None of the staff there spoke English, I was there for five days before being transferred to Alicante General. The doctors were worried that I may go into respiratory arrest because of the amount of blood in my lung.

“When I was transferred to Alicante they froze my lung and put in a chest drain. The surgeon told me that I was very lucky, and that my training had stood me in good stead as my lung capacity was good.

“I am now out of hospital and in a hotel in Alicante.

“My insurance company is hoping to fly me home with a doctor this week. Initially I thought I would get home a few days after the boys left, so they took my clothes home with them. Now I am left here with one pair of shorts and a T-shirt. I can’t even get the T-shirt off, because I can’t bend my arm,” he joked.

Kieran paid tribute to the staff of both hospitals and said that despite the language barrier they really couldn’t have done more for him.

“It was very frustrating. I was in so much pain, I couldn’t understand them, and they couldn’t understand me. Thankfully there was one nurse in Alicante who could speak broken English and she was very good to me.

“I have a Spanish phrase book here, so I think I will just sit and learn a few phrases, it will pass the time,” said Kieran.

Get well wishes have been flooding in for Kieran on the Bann Wheelers’ Facebook page.

STORY: Nichola Forgrave

Right: LUCKY MAN...Kieran Crawford is expected home this week.