A Pretoria teenager is on the road to recovery after surviving a 15m fall when a zip line at an adventure park near Hartbeespoort Dam in North West snapped. Carmen Botha was on a school excursion about a month ago when her mother, Gerna, received a phone call from her teacher.
It was to alert her that Carmen had fallen the equivalent of nearly five stories and was in a critical condition. Because of the remote location, it took paramedics from Hartbeespoort Emergency Services about 20 minutes to reach her. Her condition was so serious they immediately called Netcare 911’s helicopter service, which rushed Carmen to the Netcare Milpark hospital’s trauma unit.
Jared McDowall, member of the helicopter crew, said Carmen went into cardiac arrest twice and McDowall and his colleague, Adrian King, had to resuscitate her and shock her to stimulate her heart. Milpark trauma programme manager Rene Grobler said Carmen had such extensive injuries, she was only given a 16% chance of survival. She had a ruptured spleen, bruised lungs caused by severe trauma to the chest, a liver laceration, a fracture of the spine, internal bleeding and broken bones.
Now, a month later, the teenager has made great progress. She recently underwent a further procedure for her spinal injuries. While she does not yet have feeling in her lower limbs, her doctors are waiting for the swelling to reduce to get a better indication of whether she will recover fully.