'It was just another normal Sunday ride in summer. Then it kind of got turned upside down'

Zac during his two-week stay in hospital
-Credit: (Image: NWAAC)


A motorcyclist has recounted how a leisurely Sunday ride turned into a harrowing ordeal that nearly resulted in the loss of his leg.

Zac Bonny, 32, was enjoying a typical weekend ride with friends along the country lanes on the Lancashire border in August 2022 when disaster struck.

A farmer had been on the road, leaving behind mud that caused Zac to lose control on the slippery surface.

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Zak explained the terrifying moment to LancsLive, he said: "It was just on the off-chance, I had gone round the corner and a farmer had been going in and out of a field, so there was a fair bit of mud and debris on the road. This made me lose the grip on my front wheel and then I collided with the post, unfortunately."

In the aftermath of the crash, his quick-thinking friend Shaun immediately called for an ambulance while he lay injured.

Zac, from Burnley and dad of two said: "I was lying there for around 15 minutes, I kept going to Shaun, where is it? I could really do with some morphine now."

The severity of his injuries became apparent when the road ambulance arrived. Zak said: "Then the road ambulance came and they saw the state of my leg, because my foot was kind of behind my knee. Then they requested the air ambulance because they're more medically trained."

The X-ray showing Zac's broken leg
The X-ray showing Zac's broken leg -Credit:NWAAC

"When they got there, they gave me morphine to help but the air ambulance were able to give me loads of ketamine to basically knock me out so they could realign my leg. I later found out normal paramedics don't carry anything like that."

The North West Air Ambulance Charity (NWAAC) team, comprising doctors and critical care paramedics, arrived on the scene to find Zac in excruciating pain. The administration of ketamine was crucial for them to remove his boot, assess his injuries, stop the bleeding, and apply dressings and splints to his broken bones.

"When I rolled over, I kind of felt my foot flop," Zac explained. "I thought oh god, I'm losing my foot now."

"That's my foot gone, that's my favourite hobby gone out of the window. Then I also realised there was something wrong with my other arm, because it didn't feel like where it was meant to be, as daft as it sounds."

"I severely broke that upper arm as well. So, I was kind of lying there thinking, I'm in trouble here. I could really do with some help."

Zac was taken from the rural location to the major trauma centre, a journey of 14 minutes in the air ambulance - but if in a land vehicle, it would have taken around an hour. "It was on the way up to Hawes in Yorkshire," Zac said.

"It's in between Clitheroe and Settle, it's a little back road that we always do. So it was pretty much in the middle of nowhere which was really good, because the air ambulance could land pretty much right next to us."

He added: "It was totally out of the blue, it was just another normal Sunday ride that we do most weekends in summer. Then it kind of got turned upside down."

The NWAAC are marking their 25th anniversary, having attended over 45,000 lifesaving missions since 1999. A recent survey of 1,000 residents revealed that 42% of people were unaware it's a charity that depends on public donations and requires £12 million a year.

Zac says he is reminded of how incredible it is that he remembers much of the incident, but has also been told a few tales of what went on. "The police were there as well to help with traffic.

"An officer apparently went up to Shaun and said, your friend is going to scream in a minute when they straighten his leg but thankfully he won't remember it. Shaun said, when he came to visit me in hospital - 'mate that scream you let out that day will haunt me for the rest of my life.'"

Following the intervention at the scene, Zac spent two-weeks in hospital whilst he had surgeries on an open fracture of the tibia and fibula, an open fracture of the arm, a broken collarbone and multiple rib fractures. Despite thinking he would lose his foot and have to stop his motorcycling hobby, Zac quickly got back on his feet and still rides the same route to this day.

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