'It was just another Sunday bike ride, then all of a sudden I'd almost lost my foot'

Zac has since thanked the team that helped save his foot
-Credit: (Image: NWAAC)


A motorcyclist has described the moment 'just another Sunday ride' turned into a nightmare that almost cost him his leg.

It was a weekend like any other when Zac Bonny and two friends hopped on their motorcycles and rode through country lanes on the Lancashire border in August 2022. However, a farmer had recently been on the road and left a mud on the track.

On the slippery Tarmac, Zac lost control of his motorcycle.

The 32-year-old, from Burnley, told LancsLive "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."

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Luckily, Zac was with two of his friends at the time of the incident. His pal Shaun quickly called an ambulance to the scene.

Dad-of-two Zac added: "I was lying there for around 15 minutes, I kept going to Shaun, where is it? I could really do with some morphine now.

"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.

Zac during his two-week stay in hospital
Zac during his two-week stay in hospital -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."

Arriving at the scene was the North West Air Ambulance Charity (NWAAC), a team consisting of doctors and critical care paramedics. When they arrived, Zac was in debilitating pain and needed to have his boot removed, so the administration of ketamine allowed them to examine his wounds, stop the bleeding and dress and splint the 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."

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

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 celebrating their 25th birthday, having responded to over 45,000 lifesaving missions since 1999. In a recent survey of 1,000 residents, the organisation found 42% of people were unaware it's a charity which relies on public donations and needs £12 million a year.

99% agree the charity is a vital service for the region and the work is highly-valued and appreciated in the community.

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," Zac recalls.

"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.