'Miracle' woman, 26, learns to walk again after surviving 80ft plunge off waterfall

·3-min read
Cara Sutton, from Aigburth, miraculously survived despite falling 80ft from the side of a waterfall into a ravine. (Reach)
Cara Sutton, from Aigburth, miraculously survived despite falling 80ft from the side of a waterfall into a ravine. (Reach)

A young woman who survived an 80ft fall from the side of a waterfall has described her 'miracle' journey after learning to walk again.

Cara Sutton, 26, was on holiday with her boyfriend, James, 25, in August last year when she plunged from the side of the waterfall in Coed-y-Brenin, North Wales.

The pharmacist, who is from from Aigburth, Liverpool and works at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, suffered a broken spine, shattered pelvis, collapsed lung and multiple broken ribs but survived.

She was airlifted to hospital where medics fought to save her life and five months on is now back home and walking again.

Her rescue and the life-saving work of her doctors have now featured in Channel 5’s 999: Critical Condition, which aired on Thursday (20 January).

Sutton was airlifted to hospital from the ravine with serious injuries. (Reach)
Sutton was airlifted to hospital from the ravine with serious injuries. (Reach)

Describing the moment she fell, Sutton said: "I remember James shouting back to tell me to be careful because it was slippery, just as I fell to my knees.

"I was sliding around all over the place and tried to grab onto some moss to stop myself but it just ripped off into my hand.

"The edge was behind me so I didn’t even realise I was about to fall until I fell backwards and saw the edge of the cliff go past me.

"I don’t even remember falling or hitting the ground."

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Her boyfriend rushed for help from nearby walkers, including an off-duty doctor who came to their aid.

She lay in a ravine for four hours while mountain rescue teams and the Welsh Air Ambulance worked together to winch her out so she could be flown to hospital.

There she underwent several emergency surgeries to fix her spine and damaged organs and spent over two months in hospital learning how to walk again.

She was discharged on 9 November 9, two and a half months after being admitted, and is now doing regular physio at home to regain her strength.

Her boyfriend said he believed there was no way she could have survived the fall and had expected the worst - but put her survival down to the fact she was still wearing a helmet she had on from cycling earlier in the day.

The pharmacist has now featured in a new episode of a Channel 5 series. (Reach)
The pharmacist has now featured in a new episode of a Channel 5 series. (Reach)

Sutton was initially treated by trauma consultants Dr Hari and Dr Richard Fawcett.

The latter told the Channel 5 programme: "This is a fatal fall, there’s lots of rocks and boulders, so really hard landing and that is a height that can kill someone.

"If the patient is not dead by the time the emergency services get there you have really got to worry that this patient has multiple things wrong with them."

Sutton added: "It’s absolutely amazing how well they were able to put me back together again. The trauma doctor was so calming and reassuring and I knew I was in good hands. I definitely could have died but they saved my life.

"Now I just want to get back to what I was doing. Things like bike riding and walking - but not up cliffs. Just being outside, having adventures and getting back to work."

Watch: Jordan North on kipping on the Radio 1 Live Lounge sofa, ending up on I'm A Celeb, and how being sick on a cliff was the making of his career

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