'I was given 5 per cent chance of survival but my fabulous sister and friends saved my life'

-Credit: (Image: SWNS)
-Credit: (Image: SWNS)


A young Yorkshire woman given just five per cent chance of survival after a horror skiing accident has bravely spoken about her “miracle” recovery.

Olivia Corbiere, 23, suffered a brain bleed, lung damage, a broken pelvis and three fractured vertebrae when she fell 15ft (4.5m) down a ravine in Bansko, Bulgaria, in March.

Doctors who first tended to the stricken kitchen designer told her mum Linzi, 46, she had a limited chance of pulling through - and might never talk again if she did.

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But remarkably, after Olivia was flown to Britain for treatment and spent a total of six weeks in hospital, she has been allowed to come home. She still has some hearing loss and nerve damage on the right side of her face - affecting her eyelid movement - along with a wound at the back of her head.

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But Olivia has now thanked her doting sister Phoebe Corbiere, 19, and five close friends who were with her when she had the accident for saving her life. Speaking from her home in Aston, near Rotherham, she said: “The actions of my sister and my friends that day are the reason why I’m here.

Olivia Corbiere, 23. -Credit:Linzi Corbiere/SWNS
Olivia Corbiere, 23. -Credit:Linzi Corbiere/SWNS

“Three of them jumped into the ravine and helped get me out, and then the other ones called the emergency services. They didn’t even think for a second not to jump in, and they could have hurt themselves. They are incredible. They’re fabulous, they’re amazing.

“When I was in hospital I thanked them for doing what they did because they saved my life with how they reacted."

Linzi said she was stunned at Olivia’s progress since the accident – and praised the doctors in Britain and Bulgaria who had treated her girl. She said: “It absolutely feels like a miracle.

“Don’t get me wrong, the Bulgarian neurosurgeon saved Olivia’s life, but the care back in England is second to none. They’ve checked up on her constantly.

Olivia, 23, suffered a brain bleed, lung damage and a broken pelvis when she fell 15ft down a ravine in Bansko, Bulgaria, in March this year -Credit:SWNS
Olivia, 23, suffered a brain bleed, lung damage and a broken pelvis when she fell 15ft down a ravine in Bansko, Bulgaria, in March this year -Credit:SWNS

“We were told she had a five per cent chance of living and may not speak, but she’s done all that, she’s proved them wrong, she’s getting stronger every day. Now, she can laugh and joke about herself and things like that – that’s really, really good. We’re absolutely over the moon."

Olivia had gone on the five-day spring ski trip with her sister and pals Laura Howe, 23, Charlotte Howe, 20, Georgia Cooke, 23, Ellise Cowley, 23, and Anastasia Griffith 23.

And on March 17, she had gone up to the top of the mountain range, in Western Bulgaria, early to maximize her time on the slopes. But after lunch, as she was heading along a ski path, she tumbled down a ravine while going over some slushy snow.

Olivia said: “We met about 10am, and we were having a conversation about where we were going to eat. That was one of the last things I remember before my accident. My right ski crossed over my left ski, and that made me lose control. I then went into the ravine.

"Because there’s such a big drop, and because it was warmer weather and it had melted, I couldn’t turn out of it like I normally would."

Olivia’s friends phoned for an ambulance and she was rushed to a hospital where shocked medics said they had “never seen” a head injury like hers.

She underwent four hours of emergency surgery where specialists removed part of her skull to reduce a life-threatening bleed on her brain. Olivia was also found to have suffered three fractured vertebrae, a broken pelvis, a broken eye socket and a broken nose in the horror fall.

And Linzi rapidly jetted out to Bulgaria to be by her bedside before she was put into a medically induced coma to help stabilise her. She later revealed how Olivia managed to mouth the words 'I love you' to her boyfriend Ben Smith, 24, who also flew out to be with her in her time of need.

When she was brought back to the UK on April 1, doctors warned Linzi to prepare for a long recovery lasting several months or perhaps years. But Olivia, who has no recollection of the five-week period following her accident, began to improve once she was able to learn what had happened to her.

Olivia, right, with sister Phoebe.
Olivia, right, with sister Phoebe.

She said: “When I moved from the intensive care ward onto the neuro ward, it was about three or four days after that, my memory started to come back. For some reason I thought I was in a car accident - or there were different stories that made sense to me that I don’t remember as to why I was in hospital."

Olivia finally returned home four weeks ago and has since enjoyed meals out with her relieved family. But she was stunned when she learned how many people had offered their sympathies from around the world after learning of her accident.

She added: “My mum spent a bit of time looking through it all and it was just fantastic. There are just so many good people in the world. I can’t be any more grateful.”

Olivia also said she hoped to hit the ski slopes again as soon as she could despite suffering her traumatic injuries. She said: “It was just an accident, it wasn’t anything to do with how I was skiing.

“I’ve skied for years. I absolutely love it, and I shouldn’t let something that was a complete accident put me off something I enjoy doing. So when I’m fully better and well, I’d love to try it again.”

Click here to donate to Olivia's recovery.

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